Monday, October 29, 2007

It Is Well

The showing is this afternoon and the funeral is tomorrow. We waited until today because there was an out of town family wedding reception on Saturday and relatives would be just coming home on Sunday. My wife didn't want her cousin's reception to turn into a mourning session so we canceled our hotel reservations and stayed home.

We have been going through Dad's collection of photographs in preparation for the wake and it was really quite nice doing so. Very sad, but nice - a reaffirmation of his love and regard for his family and friends. I saw some photos that I have never seen before. He was quite a character. But I knew that.

My wife's family and our church has been wonderful through all this - cards and meals and offers of help. And my internet friends have also been great. Charlie the Cop from Chicago even called me to express his condolences. Thank you all.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

RIP John I. DiBello

Dad passed away shorty after midnight this morning. His suffering is over and he is reunited with his beloved wife Frances.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The New Republican Governor of Louisiane

The following article was written by freelance columnist Doug Patton, reproduced here with his permission.

GOP Should Learn from Louisiana Election
By Doug Patton
October 22, 2007

Louisiana has always been a strange place. This is, after all, the state that once elected a convicted felon (former Gov. Edwin Edwards) over former KKK leader David Duke on the strength of the sentiment expressed on an Edwards bumper sticker: “Vote for the crook. It’s important.”

The state patterns its justice system on Napoleonic Law. Its major city sits below sea level. Its history is steeped in a weird combination of influences: French, Spanish, Catholicism, voodoo. Over the years, the state has spawned a bizarre parade of corrupt politicos, from die-hard socialists like Huey and Earl Long to committed incompetents like Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco — Democrats all.

But something amazing has happened in Louisiana. Bobby Jindal has been elected governor. Jindal, a 36-year-old Republican whose Indian parents came to the United States mere months before their son was born, was raised a Hindu but later converted to Christianity, becoming a Catholic as a teenager. He is pro-life, pro-family, conservative to his core and committed to cleaning up the corruption that has permeated Louisiana politics for at least a hundred years.

This man is the first non-white to be elected governor of Louisiana since reconstruction, and the first Indian American to be elected to a governorship in the history of the country. A brilliant student who went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, Jindal became head of Louisiana’s Health and Human Services Department at the tender age of 24. Four years ago, in 2003, Jindal was defeated for governor by Kathleen Blanco. He went on to win a congressional seat in a landslide in 2004. He was reelected by an even larger margin (88 percent) in 2006, a supposedly Democrat year.

So what does Bobby Jindal’s election as Louisiana’s governor say about the future of GOP politics? As Bill Krystol, editor of “The Weekly Standard” and a Fox News commentator, has said, this is very good news for Republicans.

“He’s a very impressive guy,” Krystol said. “It’s awfully good news for Republicans. Haley Barbour, the Republican governor of Mississippi, one of the two states worst hit (by Hurricane Katrina), is going to get reelected with a huge margin, and the other state which had an incompetent Democratic governor, has now elected a Republican to replace her. Republicans who make a good case for themselves can do well.”

Republicans who make a good case for themselves can do well. That statement should be taken to heart by every GOP candidate, campaign manager, speechwriter, press secretary and consultant running for any office next year. And the way to make a good case for themselves is to run as unabashed conservatives.

Ronald Reagan proved that in 1980 when he ran on a platform of lowering taxes, rebuilding our military and bringing the Soviet Union to its knees.

George H. W. Bush proved it again when he said, “Read my lips: no new taxes” in 1988. Too bad he didn’t mean it, which is why he lost to Bill Clinton in 1992.

Newt Gingrich proved it in 1994 when he led the Republican Revolution by nationalizing a congressional election, using the Contract with America as the key to that lopsided victory.

When Republicans controlled the White House, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, they lost the confidence of the American people. Voters repudiated the party last year because Republicans had stopped acting like Republicans. The GOP grew government at a rate dizzying enough to have thoroughly impressed FDR, and they failed utterly at closing our borders after the worst attack in our nation’s history.

But the Democrat victory prophesied by every inside-the-beltway pundit writing or broadcasting is not a foregone conclusion. Bobby Jindal has proven that voters will give a conservative a chance to govern if they believe he or she will follow through on the promises that are made to them.

© Copyright 2007 by Doug Patton

Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor. His weekly columns are published in newspapers across the country and on selected Internet web sites, including Human Events Online, and, where he is a senior writer and state editor. Readers may e-mail him at


The past week end was very rough. Dad has suffered enough and decided not continue with any further treatment. He has been moved into hospice care at the VA. Fortunately we are able to be very flexible with our work hours and can spend a lot of time with him.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Needless to say, the wife, kids and I have been spending a lot of time at the VA. Dad is feeling much better and now is getting hungry - after all, other than some malted milk looking soy sauce through a NG tube, he hasn't eaten anything in well over a week.

He seemed confused when we visited him yesterday. He thought his apartment was upstairs from the ICU room and that as soon as the dialysis was over he would go upstairs and get cleaned up. We tried telling him that he was in the hospital but it just didn't sink in. There is something called "ICU Psychosis" where there are so many stressful things happening to an older person that they "escape" to where things are more normal; sorta like a happy place. This may be happening to Dad.

He failed his "swallow" test yesterday morning and the doctors won't allow him to eat until he can be re-evaluated on Monday. They figure as he was just extubated the day before, it may take a few days for his throat to settle down and sort things out. Until then, he runs the threat of aspirating whatever he eats.

The staff knows that he needs nourishment so a nurse tried to insert another NG tube while we were in the room.

The nasogastric tube is a long plastic tube that is inserted down one of your nostrils; you keep swallowing so the tube goes down your esophagus instead of your windpipe. It can be pretty unpleasant while it is passing through the back of your nasal cavity and down the back of your throat. But once it is in, liquid can be passed directly to the stomach.

Good luck.

I have never heard my FIL swear like that before. He started to fight the nurse and when she finally got it all the way in, he yanked it right out. I was surprised at how strong he still is when he's pissed off. I tried to calm him down, as did my wife, the nurse and the ICU doctor. Nothing doing. I was pretty anxious about how upset he was and was watching the heart monitor, but everything seemed pretty good. My wife got upset and left the room, but she could still hear him yelling down the hallway.

This is what got him in serious trouble a week and a half ago. He got pissed, yanked the NG tube out and then aspirated.

The nurse told me later that the doctor told her to restrain him with wrist straps and then insert the NG tube, but she refused to do it. I agree. That would only infuriate him even more and lead to worse problems later on. He is still frail and his heart couldn't put up with it.

They are going to let him take sips of sugar water for the weekend - but no food.

He wouldn't give it up either; even after the nurse and doctor told him that they wouldn't force him to have it done he was still pissed. No tubes, no wires, no dialysis, no needles, no nothing - he refuses everything. I trust he will calm down overnight, but when we left he was still sitting there like a little angry gnome.

I notice now where my wife gets her "seriously pissed" look from. It is a scary thing.

10/20/07 He let them insert the NG tube today.

10/20/07 He is out of ICU and back in the general medical population.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Prayer Works

Thank you all for your prayers. God inhabits the prayers of His people.

We left the VA hospital earlier this evening feeling a lot more hopeful. Dad is coming around a bit. He is much more alert; the nurses are surprised at how well he is doing. His heart has been stable and they are even considering taking him off the respirator. He still needs dialysis though but we are hopeful that perhaps his kidneys may kick back in a little. He'll be in ICU for a while longer while they monitor his condition.

This doesn't mean that his heart is now healthy or that his kidneys are any better. They're not. But we may have a bit longer with him before God calls him.

The doctors and nurses have been outstanding. I can't express how much we appreciate the staff at the Syracuse VA Hospital.

We are now considering what to do with his apartment. He will probably never be able to live alone as he was doing so there is a lot to be done.

Again, thank you for your prayers.

18 OCT 07 - Praise God, Dad continues to improve. They took him off the respirator (extubated him - my wife confuses it with excavate - the backhoe might be a little rough on him!) and he is breathing all on his own. He is very alert, his mind is clear, his blood pressure is good and he is much more comfortable; with the tube out of his chest he can now talk. He doesn't remember much of the past two weeks and we're thankful for that. The pain meds made him really loopy and he thinks he was hallucinating a bit. It still looks like he'll require dialysis three times a week for the time being. We'll take it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Dad's condition continues to worsen. The ICU called us about 0100 hrs this morning and asked if we want them to use heart message if he goes int complete failure. We said yes as we know that he already made it known that he would want us to. He is already intubated and they are trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. We realize the end is very near for him. My wife is holding up well so far but the strain is showing and we're doing the best we can.

We have spent a lot of time in the VA this past week and again I want to thank the staff for their excellent care.

I started to put together a site detailing my FIL's war experiences some time ago but held off until now. Stupid of me because Dad is no longer able to respond. I finally got off my ass 'cause it gives me something to do at night while we wait.

I still have a lot to do on it, scan photos, etc. but here it is. It's a work in progress so please bear with me. And yes, I checked a German-English dictionary and Sergeant is an actual German military rank. Feldwebel is another term for this rank.

His kidneys have just about shut down completely. They are going to try dialysis this evening or tomorrow morning. But the shock of the fluid loss/blood volume while the machine purifies his blood could send him into complete failure. We have no choice though. Without it he will be dead in a day or two.

We truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Dad survived the dialysis last night and had another round of dialysis this morning; his BP remains stable. They also removed almost two kilos of fluid this time. He is more responsive but still very weak. He does recognize us though he is only conscious for maybe fifteen minutes at a time.

Friday, October 12, 2007

VA Hospital Care

John DiBello is my father in law. For the past week he has been in the local VA hospital after he fell while on an escalator at the mall. Complications from the fall have seriously degraded his condition because of his congestive heart failure and renal failure. Yesterday they put him in the ICU. He is 81 and has had CHF for the past 21 years. We just got home from the hospital and I wanted to say the following.

I don't think I have seen a finer staff of doctors and nurses than the ones at the Syracuse VA Hospital. They are outstanding, simply outstanding. They are supportive of us as Dad's immediate family and the staff go out of their way to inform us of what they are doing, why they are doing it and to answer any questions we may have.

I have read so many criticisms of the health care provided by the Veteran's Administration and I hope they are not true because our vets deserve the very best. But after seeing the level of care and commitment offered at this facility, I wonder if some of this criticism is not politically motivated.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fly The Friendly Skies

AT least once a day on the CNN Headline News Channel (I watch the Glenn Beck Show) I catch a Aeroflot commercial. The commercial extols the merits of flying with the russkies but I just get the willies thinking about some underpaid Moscow airframe mechanic slugging down a tin of shoe polish as he works on a jet that I will board in the near future.

According to this site, there have been 127 crashes of Aeroflot aircraft since they started commercial flight operations in 1953. That's right, 127 crashes.

Compare that number with:
United Airlines - 21 crashes; Trans World Airlines - 18 crashes; Pan American Airlines - 17 crashes; BOAC - 9 crashes; Continental Airlines - 7 crashes.

You may think that I am piling on the poor roosians by comparing them with modern US and European airlines. Well, let's take a look at some not so well know airlines and see how they fare...
Ghana Airways - 2 crashes; Malaysia Airlines - 3 crashes; Philippine Airlines - 21 crashes; Xiamen Airlines - 1 crash.

Of course this all should be viewed in light of passenger miles for it to make any sense at all, but this is kinda fun anyway.

The site, Air, also lists the different types of aircraft that have been involved in crashes, and the fatalities.

Airbus A300 - 11 crashes between 1983 and 2003, a total of 1,411 deaths.
Airbus A310 - 7 crashes between 1992 and 2006, a total of 645 deaths.
Boeing 707 - 56 crashes between 1961 and 2005,a total of 3,097 deaths.
Boeing 747 - 34 crashes between 1974 and 2004, a total of 3,485 deaths.
Douglas DC-6 - 40 crashes between 1951 and 1999, a total of 1,585 deaths.
Douglas DC-7 - 15 crashes between 1956 and 1979, a total of 690 deaths.
Lockheed L-1011 - 5 crashes between 1972 and 1986, a total of 553 deaths.
Lockheed L-1049 - 15 crashes between 1956 and 1965, a total of 668 deaths.
McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 - 19 crashes between 1973 and 2004, a total of 1,434 deaths.
McDonnell-Douglas MD-8 - 17 crashes between 1981 and 2007, a total of 976 deaths.
Ilyushin IL-62 - 12 crashes between 1972 and 2002, a total of 737 deaths.
Ilyushin IL-76 - 19 crashes between 1988 and 2007, a total of 844 deaths.
Tupolev TU-134 - 27 crashes between 1971 and 2007, a total of 1,587 deaths.
Tupolev TU-154 - 29 crashes between 1973 and 2006, a total of 2,682 deaths.
Yakovlev YAK-40 - 21 crashes between 1972 and 2004, a total of 634 deaths.
Yakovlev YAK-42 - 3 crashes between 1982 and 2003, a total of 229 deaths.

Nothing in these figures indicates whether the aircraft or pilot error was at fault.

Now for the the Airplane O'Doom awards!

First Prize - the Yakovlev YAK-42, while it is true that there are only three crashes for this airframe, every single crash killed every single living soul on the ship. It achieved what it's predecessor strove mightily for but failed.

Second Prize - the Yakovlev YAK-4o, the first nine crashes killed every breathing thing within the fuselage. Out of 21 crashes, only 3 flights had any survivors at all. The YAK-40, affectionately known as Yakovlev's Revenge, and the Flying Barbecue, was evaluated by Japanese Self Defense Forces when considering to re-establish the Divine Wind Defense Initiative.

Now, the actual flight safety of these ships. Here is the site that rates the airframes for safety.
The craft with the lowest number of crashes per passenger mile is the Saab 340. Right behind it at #2 is the McDonnell Douglas MD-80. Positions #3, 4, 5 and 6 are all Boeing planes, the 767, the 757, the 727 and the 737.

Lowest rated? The Aerospatiale Concorde. Even though it had only one fatal flight, it flew so few times (80,000 flights) that it received this distinction. In comparison, the #5 and #6 craft (727 and 737) flew a combined 146 million flights with 93 flights that involved a fatality of some kind.

Dan wanted the DC-10 thrown into the mix, so I did two McDonnell-Douglas aircraft, the DC-10 and the MD-8.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Then God Said...

Some time ago, God told Oral Roberts, a Southern evangelist, to build Him a university or else He'd kill him.

I never believed that.

Oral Roberts then allegedly built God a university. I don't believe that either. Why? Because it is called Oral Roberts University. It was named after it's creator. I don't see any mention of God in that name.

Now it appears that the Roberts family is proving that God had nothing to do with the inception of that institution or its current ownership.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Twenty years ago, televangelist Oral Roberts said he was reading a spy novel when God appeared to him and told him to raise $8 million for Roberts' university, or else he would be "called home."

Now, his son, Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts, says God is speaking again, telling him to deny lurid allegations in a lawsuit that threatens to engulf this 44-year-old Bible Belt college in scandal.

Richard Roberts is accused of illegal involvement in a local political campaign and lavish spending at donors' expense, including numerous home remodeling projects, use of the university jet for his daughter's senior trip to the Bahamas, and a red Mercedes convertible and a Lexus SUV for his wife, Lindsay.

She is accused of dropping tens of thousands of dollars on clothes, awarding nonacademic scholarships to friends of her children and sending scores of text messages on university-issued cell phones to people described in the lawsuit as "underage males."

This can't be interpreted as a slur against the thousands of good people that work and attend school at ORU. But the end result is that the students, faculty and staff are distracted and the whole institution becomes an embarassment for Christians everywhere. Even if only a few of the accusations are proven, ORU should be run in a fashion "purer than Caesar's wife" to avoid any possibility of scandal. This is true for any organization that purports to represent the Creator.

Cornell Cross II, a senior from Burlington, Vt., said he is looking to transfer to another school because the scandal has "severely devalued and hurt the reputation of my degree."

"We have asked and asked and asked to see the finances of our school and what they're doing with our money, and we've been told no," said, Cross who is majoring in government. "Now we know why. As a student, I'm not going to stand for it any longer."

He shouldn't have put up with it from the get go.

Unfortunately, this is what can happen when there is no accountibility. If ORU is anxious to preserve its reputation as a Christian institution, some kind of financial disclosure should be available to those who require it.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

I'll Be Watching This One.

From Yahoo News we learn that three Duke lacrosse players, Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann, falsely accused of raping a stripper are continuing with their lawsuit against the City of Greensboro, the disgraced & disbarred ex-District Attorney Michael Nifong and several of the police detectives who investigated the case. All in all, thirteen defendants are listed in the tort. As the former DA is being sued, the case also involves Guilford County.

The lawyer for the three respondents states that the experience of his clients is:

"one of the most chilling episodes of premeditated police, prosecutorial and scientific misconduct in modern American history."

I think there may be just a wee bit of hyperbole in that statement, but I have to admit; if I was one of those young men, I would be horrendously pissed. If it were one of my kids that were treated like that, I'd have someone named Vito sitting in a dark rented sedan just waiting for Nifong outside his favorite restaurant (ooops, some more hyperbole). Just reading about the cover up raises my blood pressure.

The lawsuit was filed about a month after city officials met with lawyers for the families seeking a $30 million settlement and several legal reforms, two sources close to the case have told The Associated Press. The attorneys gave the city a month to respond or face a civil rights lawsuit.

Now unless they have consolidated the lawsuit, that is just the City side of it against the cops; what they are seeking from the County for Nifong's actions is unknown right now, but I'll bet it's more.

Defendants withheld evidence, intimidated witnesses, made public statements to smear the lacrosse players and used a photo lineup that featured only lacrosse players so that the accuser would name the players as her attackers, the lawsuit said.

Now that last part about the photo line up travesty (if true) is just bad juju. If this is the way it shakes out, I really don't know what these guys were thinking.

I live in a county just a little bigger than Guilford. In photo line ups we used mug shots from tens of thousands of potential suspects based on age, sex, race, height, weight, hair color, etc. for those purposes. There is no problem getting tons of appropriate photos into the line up because over fifteen thousand people a year are arrested here.

The line up is presented in "six packs" to the victim/witness - that is, six suspects per page. The computer generates the photo array and the detectives choose which mugshots will be used. Or, if the suspect is unknown, the victim can look through all the potential suspects. But to limit the entire photo array to just Duke lacrosse players in a violent felony investigation?

Wow. Someone is definitely going to have a rough time on the witness stand answering that one. Just turn over the keys to your house and your bank deposit book to the lawyers. It'll be easier in the long run.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Want One A These

It looks like the Border Patrol is getting a new toy. And I want one.

Border Patrol agents in the agency's San Diego, Yuma and Tucson sectors will soon begin using a more powerful compressed-air gun to fire pepper or ink balls at illegal border crossers during violent confrontations. The device, called an FN 303, can shoot the filled plastic projectiles 225 feet, said Andrea Zortman, a spokeswoman for the agency in Washington, D.C. The pepper-ball launchers currently used by agents have a range of about 60 feet.

Training in how to use the FN 303 has been going on for some time, and the devices will be used in the field within a few months, Zortman said yesterday. They will first be used in San Diego and Arizona because that is where the most violence against agents has occurred, she said. Eventually the air guns will be distributed for use nationwide.

I looked to see if the FN 303 ($800 - $935) is available to civilians.

Alas, this .68 cal baby is not.

Not Just A Right, Now Almost An Obligation

From the USA Today opinion section:

A liberal's lament: The NRA might be right after all
By Jonathan Turley

This term, the Supreme Court may finally take up the Voldemort Amendment, the part of the Bill of Rights that shall not be named by liberals. For more than 200 years, progressives and polite people have avoided acknowledging that following the rights of free speech, free exercise of religion and free assembly, there is "the right of the people to keep and bear arms." Of course, the very idea of finding a new individual right after more than two centuries is like discovering an eighth continent in constitutional law, but it is hardly the cause of celebration among civil liberties groups.

Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda. Yet, two related cases could now force liberals into a crisis of conscience. The Supreme Court is expected to accept review of District of Columbia v. Heller and Parker v. District of Columbia, involving constitutional challenges to the gun-control laws in Washington.

Like many liberals he was happy to trample all over the Second Amendment constitutional rights of others while his precious First Amendment rights were sacrosanct and inviolable.

The D.C. law effectively bars the ownership of handguns for most citizens and places restrictions on other firearms. The District's decision to file these appeals after losing in the D.C. appellate court was driven more by political than legal priorities. By taking the appeal, D.C. politicians have put gun-control laws across the country at risk with a court more likely to uphold the rulings than to reverse them. It has also put the rest of us in the uncomfortable position of giving the right to gun ownership the same fair reading as more favored rights of free press or free speech.

This academic obviously preferred the less comfortable position of face down on the floor to a criminal who gives not a whit for any kind of right other than his desire to access your wallet, your wife, your children and your life.

Principle is a terrible thing, because it demands not what is convenient but what is right. It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right. It is true that the amendment begins with a reference to militias: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Accordingly, it is argued, this amendment protects the right of the militia to bear arms, not the individual.

Yet, if true, the Second Amendment would be effectively declared a defunct provision. The National Guard is not a true militia in the sense of the Second Amendment and, since the District and others believe governments can ban guns entirely, the Second Amendment would be read out of existence.

Which is exactly what the GFW want.

More important, the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.

Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.

None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that ... here's the really hard part ... the NRA may have been right. This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it.

Perhaps there is a change in the wind. If this character gets it, there must be more.