[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]
I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.
Eighty-five times he
's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he 's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.
's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right? U.S.
And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
This love story began in
, 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. , Winchester Mass.
'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;" Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an institution."
But the Hoyts weren
't buying it. They noticed the way Rick 's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way," Dick says he was told. "There Tufts University 's nothing going on in his brain."
"Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.
Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that."
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."
That day changed Rick
's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn 't disabled anymore!"
And that sentence changed Dick
's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.
"No way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren
't quite a single runner, and they weren 't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for the following year. Boston
Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"
's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn 't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.
've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don Hawaii 't you think?
Hey, Dick, why not see how you
'd do on your own? "No way," he says.
Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.
This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon , in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time
'? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don 't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.
"No question about it," Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century."
And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn
't been in such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably would 've died 15 years ago."
So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other
Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in
, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Boston , always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father , Holland Massachusetts 's Day.
That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.
"The thing I
'd most like," Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once. ' '
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 6:49 PM
Thomas Sowell delves into that question in today's piece on National Review Online:
One of the most pervasive political visions of our time is the vision of liberals as compassionate and conservatives as less caring. It is liberals who advocate "forgiveness" of loans to third-world countries, a "living wage" for the poor and a "safety net" for all.Some interesting factoids that I knew but liberals continue to deny:
But these are all government policies — not individual acts of compassion — and the actual empirical consequences of such policies are of remarkably little interest to those who advocate them. Depending on what those consequences are, there may be good reasons to oppose them, so being for or against these policies may tell us nothing about who is compassionate or caring and who is not.
A new book, titled Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks examines the actual behavior of liberals and conservatives when it comes to donating their own time, money, or blood for the benefit of others. It is remarkable that beliefs on this subject should have become conventional, if not set in concrete, for decades before anyone bothered to check these beliefs against facts.
People who identify themselves as conservatives donate money to charity more often than people who identify themselves as liberals. They donate more money and a higher percentage of their incomes.Sowell has his theories of why this is so:
It is not that conservatives have more money. Liberal families average 6 percent higher incomes than conservative families. You may recall a flap during the 2000 election campaign when the fact came out that Al Gore donated a smaller percentage of his income to charity than the national average. That was perfectly consistent with his liberalism.
So is the fact that most of the states that voted for John Kerry during the 2004 election donated a lower percentage of their incomes to charity than the states that voted for George W. Bush.
Conservatives not only donate more money to charity than liberals do, conservatives volunteer more time as well. More conservatives than liberals also donate blood.
According to Professor Brooks: "If liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply of the United States would jump about 45 percent."
Professor Brooks admits that the facts he uncovered were the opposite of what he expected to find — so much so that he went back and checked these facts again, to make sure there was no mistake.
What is the reason why some people are liberals and others are conservatives, if it is not that liberals are more compassionate?It is my theory that liberals, being the dependency-driven people that they are, expect the government to tow the line when it comes to charity; thus easing themselves of the burden. Satisfied that "the government will provide," they are content to rely on the producers/taxpayers of this country to do the heavy lifting (as long as it isn't them, as Mark's piece on Warren Buffet, et. al, will attest). Even rich trust-fund liberals like Ted Kennedy, Al Gore and "Jon Carry" are willing to let others lift the load when it comes to assisting those who are less fortunate.
Fundamental differences in ideology go back to fundamental assumptions about human nature. Based on one set of assumptions, it makes perfect sense to be a liberal. Based on a different set of assumptions, it makes perfect sense to be a conservative.
The two visions are not completely symmetrical, however. For at least two centuries, the vision of the left has included a belief that those with that vision are morally superior, more caring and more compassionate.
While both sides argue that their opponents are mistaken, those on the left have declared their opponents to be not merely in error but morally flawed as well. So the idea that liberals are more caring and compassionate goes with the territory, whether or not it fits the facts.
Unquestioning loyalty no longer an option
Mr. Sowell's opening line in the article says it all; not only regarding liberals and their lack of generosity, but of liberal dogma in general:
More frightening than any particular beliefs or policies is an utter lack of any sense of a need to test those beliefs and policies against hard evidence. Mistakes can be corrected by those who pay attention to facts but dogmatism will not be corrected by those who are wedded to a vision.Although Sowell no doubt has it correct, I would add that liberals heretofore had not felt the need to test the veracity of their dogma; for they had long had the luxury of their fellow travellers in the media unquestioningly parroting their tenets; devoid of truth as they were. So accustomed have the old guard liberals become to this past media complacency, that they make the mistake of continuing to think it exists to this day, and to the same degree.
This is more than reflected in Rangel's insistence that an overrepresented majority of soldiers joined the Armed Services due to lack of opportunity, despite mounds of evidence to the contrary. Why would Rangel make such an assertion in the face of so much contradictory evidence? It is my sincere belief that Rangel and other liberal democrats, for many years assuaged in the comfort of having their dogma unquestioned by an adoring media, continue to operate in that mode; while completely forgetting and/or ignoring the presence of talk radio and the blogosphere.
They will no doubt continue to do so at their own peril.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 7:05 AM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 10:59 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 10:28 PM
Now I can't say for sure, but it's something how this guy would be that upset over "paying for a barbaric war" and to "finance the mass murder of innocent civilians;" and yet he probably wouldn't have thought twice about ponying up to the trough that has funded the murder of innocent, yet-to-be born human beings to the tune of millions. And it would also be a safe bet that this felt had not one iota of shame for the publicly-funded mayhem caused in what should have been the safety of a mother's womb, to the most innocent of all innocent beings.
Protester immolation virtually unnoticed
By ASHLEY M. HEHER
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO (AP) -- Malachi Ritscher envisioned his death as one full of purpose.
He carefully planned the details, mailed a copy of his apartment key to a friend, created to-do lists for his family. On his Web site, the 52-year-old experimental musician who'd fought with depression even penned his obituary.
At 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 - four days before an election caused a seismic shift in Washington politics - Ritscher, a frequent anti-war protester, stood by an off-ramp in downtown Chicago near a statue of a giant flame, set up a video camera, doused himself with gasoline and lit himself on fire.
Aglow for the crush of morning commuters, his flaming body was supposed to be a call to the nation, a symbol of his rage and discontent with the U.S. war in Iraq.
"Here is the statement I want to make: if I am required to pay for your barbaric war, I choose not to live in your world. I refuse to finance the mass murder of innocent civilians, who did nothing to threaten our country," he wrote in his suicide note. "... If one death can atone for anything, in any small way, to say to the world: I apologize for what we have done to you, I am ashamed for the mayhem and turmoil caused by my country."
There was only one problem: No one was listening.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 6:05 PM
Prayers are in order, here.
RED LAKE, Minn. (AP) -- Dozens of trained searchers took to the woods, lakes and air Friday to continue the search for two young brothers who had gone missing two days earlier from the remote Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota.
Alicia White - the mother of Tristan Anthony White, 4, and Avery Lee Stately, 2 - appealed for anyone who knows or has seen anything to come forward.
"They were just playing outside the last time I seen them, just playing outside," she told reporters.
The boys disappeared from a yard in a heavily wooded area in the town of Red Lake.
FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe said authorities are trying to determine whether the boys wandered off or foul play was involved. "We don't have any information that would lead us either way," he said.
Tristan has a medical condition that requires medication, and he didn't take it Wednesday morning, White said. He "loves water" and had wandered off before, "but we always found him. This is the first time we didn't find him."
Family members said they were preparing for the worst because it's been cold and searchers have found nothing since the boys disappeared Wednesday. Temperatures reached the mid-40s Friday afternoon and were expected to drop below freezing overnight, according to the National Weather Service.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 12:25 AM
But never let a simple issue like "presumption of innocence" get in the way of a heretofore obscure dinosaur of a politician's ambitions. Murtha proclaimed Sharratt, Wuterich, and other Marines in their outfit guilty of a "crime" before any formal investigation had take place; before any charges were filed (they have yet to be filed); even before he had read any reports on the matter. Murtha's unfounded public pronouncement of guilt led the Haditha Marines to be found guilty in the court of public and world opinion, as well.
WASHINGTON - Darryl Sharratt often breaks into tears when trying to start sentences that include the word ``Al-Hadithah.'' A stoic Pennsylvania foreman, he struggles with painful concepts such as betrayal and helplessness. His wife, Theresa, puts her hand on his shoulder and tries to talk through the anguish.
``I love my son. He's my hero,'' Theresa Sharratt says calmly. ``He's not what they're portraying him as. I can't believe that this is happening to us. To him.''
Their son is Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, a 22-year-old Marine who had dreamed his entire life of joining the military. Now the Sharratts are fighting to preserve his reputation, as he is one of a handful of Marines who are being investigated over the slayings of two dozen Iraqi civilians Nov. 19, 2005.
The Sharratts have remained silent until now because they did not know what to say. They have avoided learning details of their son's possible involvement in the shootings while they have struggled to understand what might have happened in a war zone thousands of miles away. They have privately fumed about politicians -- such as Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. -- who have publicly stated that their son was part of a brutal, vengeful slaughter. They are livid that no one in the Marine Corps has stepped forward to defend their son.
``He's very confident he did nothing wrong, and we believe him,'' Theresa Sharratt said in a recent interview in the family home in Canonsburg, Pa. Her husband wiped his eyes and added: ``He felt he was doing his job. And, now, the Marine Corps has betrayed these guys. All of them.''
The incident in Al-Hadithah was not widely known until the past spring, when Time magazine wrote an account of the civilian deaths in a small group of homes in the insurgent hotbed. Early reports alleged that Marines with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, snapped after a member of their unit was killed by a roadside bomb, sending them on a rampage through nearby homes. There also were allegations of a coverup.
Attorneys for the Marines -- including Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the most senior non-commissioned officer at the scene of the shootings -- have said repeatedly that their clients followed the appropriate rules of engagement and killed the civilians as they were hunting insurgents responsible for the roadside bombing and for a volley of shots from what the Marines believed were AK-47 assault rifles.
``They responded the way they were trained,'' said Jack Zimmerman, an attorney for Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum, 25, who officials think was one of the Marines who fired shots.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 7:14 PM
Despite Michael Goodwin's well-thought out argument to the contrary, many democrats have extrapolated the results of this past midterm election to mean that Americans desire an abrupt end to the war, punctuated by a "phased redeployment" (read: surrender). So confident are they in this assertion that some are willing to form a third party to see their aims to fruition.
John V. Walsh at Counterpunch has the details:
An end to the war is what 60 per cent of the voters wanted in the election of 2006, and the desire for it grows by the day. What are we to do, then? Simple. We can work now on mounting a third party challenge to the Democrats in 2008. The platform of such a challenge would be simple. We are against war and the police state; these are the over-arching issues of the moment and we shall not compromise on them for any reason. The current test of these principles is Iraq. If all troops are out of Iraq by November, 2008, then our issue is gone and we cannot expect to win. If the U.S. remains in Iraq, then we may or may not win but the Democrats will have to confront us; we may defeat them or we may spoil the election for them. But either way, we will be a force to be reckoned with.I've always been a subscriber to the notion that when your opponent is in the process of making a fool of himself, it is best to get out of the way and let it happen.
How to begin? We must have some nationally known leaders who could start the ball rolling. I can think of Kevin Zeese, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, Justin Raimondo, Lew Rockwell, Alex Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair, Cindy Sheehan, Lila Lipscomb, Patrick Buchanan, perhaps even maverick Democrats like Cynthia McKinney, Maxine Waters, James Webb, Jack Murtha or Carol Shea-Porter - or maverick Republicans like Chuck Hagel, who, Lieberman-like, might declare their independence even while "caucusing" with one of the war parties. There are endless possibilities.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 11:06 PM
BTW--a word to the anti-war kooks: Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to riot.
St. Paul already prepping for mass protests at '08 GOP convention
The Associated Press
ST. PAUL —
With nearly two years until the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, anti-war protesters are already planning their march on the convention arena.
The Anti-War Committee, based in Minneapolis, has applied for marching and demonstration permits from the city of St. Paul. Jess Sundin, a member of the committee, said GOP delegates "have 17,000 rooms; I hope we have numbers at least as many."
Even a pool of protesters half that size could present massive logistical and legal challenges to the city of St. Paul. Other cities that have hosted political conventions faced millions of dollars in lawsuit costs from demonstrators alleging free speech violations and excessive force.
"If (demonstrators are) looking for ways to become famous, you pick a place like this," said Bernard Parks, former police chief in Los Angeles, site of the 2000 Democratic National Convention.