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I’ve moved!

img_2036.jpgFriends (and so forth):

My blog has moved over to! Please visit me there….



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Roy lives! Lyn is awesome!

img_1481.jpgAnd yet, thanks to Begg, thanks to quick-acting EMTs Lyn McCabe and Jen Clados at the Ridgefield Half Marathon, Shapiro and the others survived their near-death experiences.”It wasn’t just me. It was everyone else jumping in to help, too,” Begg said. “To have a critical situation like we had, where all of a sudden people you don’t know just come together and jump into roles, it was amazing.”People were assisting with crowd control and starting IVs — there were nurses and techs — everyone just did their job. There were no egos. It was an impromptu MASH unit all three times.”

Remember last month when I told you that my sister was a hero (see My sister helped save someone’s life yesterday)? Well, we just found out today that the man she helped, Roy Van Eick, made a full recovery! What great news, and what a great sister. Hahaha. What’s even more amazing is that the rate of recovery for something like this is ridiculously low–just 5 percent! Read on:

And on Oct. 7 at the Ridgefield Half Marathon, Begg saved another man, Stamford resident Roy Van Eick, who grew up in Danbury, after he went into full cardiac arrest at the 31�„2-mile mark of the race.

“It was a real hot day, but this guy was a pretty experienced runner,” said Begg, who was also running in the race. “When he went down, there were some people around him who tried to give him CPR.

“When I showed up, it was basically the same thing again — mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions. With the help of paramedics, we shocked him three times, started an IV, and gave him cardiac medications and other medications.”

Like Shapiro and Kerwin, Van Eick made a complete recovery, which is a statistical rarity. The survival rate for full cardiac arrest outside of a medical setting is just five percent, Begg said.

Too bad there aren’t more Lyns to go around.

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“Pity we don’t have a kiln…”

belvedereonline.jpgWhen my friend Mclean suggested that we have a pizza party using Andrew’s kiln, naturally my first thought was of Mr. Belvedere. Though I imagine I must have watched many episodes of the show when I was young, the only one I remember was when Kevin had to make the turkey for Thanksgiving. Having little to no cooking experience, Kevin did not realize how long a whole turkey takes to cook–so he cut corners to save time. The turkey was a dried-out disaster, and when Mr. Belvedere discovered that Kevin had turned the oven up from 250 to 500 degrees (thinking the turkey would cook twice as fast!), Mr. Belvedere said dryly, “Pity we don’t have a kiln, we could’ve had the turkey yesterday!” Perhaps not quite so funny on my blog, but it was so funny to me then that to this day that’s the only think I remember about the show. And my mom and sister–of course–said the exact same thing to me when I told them what I’d be doing…

img_1883.jpgHere are a few photos from tonight’s kiln pizza party. I like to think of the first one as the “spirits of the kiln,” but others might like to call it a “sweet ceramic bowl that Brian made with some tomatoes and basil in it.” Next is a picture of the lovely pizza kiln–you might notice that it doesn’t exactly look like something you’d want to put food into, but I suppose that was precisely the point. (There was talk of using the pottery wheel to throw the dough, but I don’t think anyone had enough energy to introduce that variable into the game.) The third shot is of our first pizza inside the kiln. img_1895.jpgIt was Brian’s idea to crack an egg in the middle. I think that’s pretty gross, and it actually felt like rubber when it was finished. As I’m sure you can imagine from looking at the picture, the hardest part of cooking pizza in a kiln is figuring out how to get it out when it is done without seriously injuring yourself (though I suppose this adds to the appeal?) The final picture is of one of our final products, which was actually the second pizza that we made.  Needless to say, they were delicious.

In case you are interested in trying this, here are some things we learned about baking pizzas in a kiln. First, make sure to preheat the kiln before you start baking.  Kilns certainly don’t take a long time to get hot, but we found that the pizzas cooked much more evenly after the first.  (Our biggest lesson was that kilns don’t really cook pizzas very evenly, and the bottom is really the last to cook).   Try not to peek in at the pizza while it is cooking too much, because that will affect how well the pizza bakes.  You may want to do a test pizza.  Oh, and think a little bit about how you are going to get the pizza out, because we (“we” as in not me) were just basically sticking our arms in there very carefully with a fork.  No burns, but maybe a bit of singed arm hair…img_1894.jpgimg_1902.jpg


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UPDATE: Malachy McAllister action alert

This just in: Senator Frank Lautenberg may be interested in introducing a private bill in the Senate on behalf of the McAllister family.

Malachy McAllister and his two youngest children are facing deportation when the suspension of their order of removal expires in September.  A private bill in the Senate, similar to one attempted by Mr. Rothman in the House, would be their only hope to remain in with the older McAllister children and their families.

To help the McAllister’s our efforts must be focused this weekend September 21, 22, 23rd to contact the offices of Senator Frank Lautenberg. Our phone calls will demonstrate the importance of this issue.

Please call the Senator’s NJ office at 973.639.8700 AND the DC office at 202.224.3224 and leave the following message:

My name is _______. I am calling from _______. I am calling to ask for Senator Lautenberg’s support to prevent the deportation of Malachy McAllister and his children Sean and Nicola. Please Senator Frank Lautenberg introduce a private bill in the US Senate that would grant permanent resident status to this deserving family.

Please call both numbers this weekend!! If we can get enough messages left this weekend, it may be enough to show Senator Lautenberg that this is a very important issue–and it could get the bill introduced Monday or Tuesday! (Please continue to call after the weekend if you are reading this on Monday or beyond.)

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See this movie: No End in Sight

It’s playing at the Michigan Theater right now, and I saw it with some friends last night. A.O. Scott, perhaps my favorite New York Times movie critic, called it “a sober, revelatory and absolutely vital film,” and he does a much better summary than I could right now. A couple of excerpts from his review:

If failure, as the saying goes, is an orphan, then “No End in Sight” can be thought of as a brief in a paternity suit, offering an emphatic, well- supported answer to a question that has already begun to be mooted on television talk shows and in journals of opinion: Who lost Iraq? On Mr. Ferguson’s short list are Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and L. Paul Bremer III. None of them agreed to be interviewed for the film. Perhaps they will watch it.

It is important to note that Mr. Ferguson’s principal interlocutors were not, at the time, critics of the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq but rather people who had, often at considerable professional cost and personal risk, committed themselves to fulfilling those policies. They include Barbara Bodine, a diplomat with long experience in the Middle East; Paul Eaton, an Army major general; Seth Moulton, a lieutenant in the Marine Corps; and Jay Garner, the retired lieutenant general who served as head of the Organization of Recovery and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq.

That agency, set up to rebuild and stabilize Iraq after the invasion, soon gave way to the Coalition Provisional Authority, directed by Mr. Bremer, who took over in May 2003. Already, according to the eyewitnesses interviewed in “No End in Sight,” terrible mistakes had been made. Looting and other early manifestations of disorder were more likely to be met with Rumsfeldian aphorisms — “Stuff happens”; freedom is “untidy” — than with appropriate tactical responses. And then, once the provisional authority assumed control, orders came down to purge the bureaucracy and the civil service of all members of the Baath Party and to dismantle the Iraqi military. As Mr. Eaton and Mr. Garner tell it, the last policy was especially disastrous and was arrived at and carried out precipitously and without discussion.

They, Ms. Bodine, and others — including Richard L. Armitage and Lawrence Wilkerson of the State Department — describe from the inside what has become, to the rest of us, a recognizable pattern. The knowledge and expertise of military, diplomatic and technical professionals was overridden by the ideological certainty of political loyalists. Republican Party operatives, including recent college graduates with little or no relevant experience, were put in charge of delicate and complicated administrative areas. Those who did not demonstrate lock-step fidelity to the White House line were ignored or pushed aside.

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Federal judge issues temporary injunction on Social Security No-Match Rule

The following is a press release from the ACLU announcing a temporary injunction on the Department of Homeland Security’s recent use of the error-prone Social Security No-Match rule as a tool for immigration enforcement.  The DHS sends “no-match letters” to employers where alleged discrepancies have been found (i.e., where a worker’s name does not match the name officially registered to a given Social Security number), and the employers are then given 90 days in which to take action to resolve the discrepancy.  Such letters have long been used by employers to exploit workers (especially undocumented ones).

As Blixx blogged about last month (I can’t access the NYT article):

In a new effort to crack down on illegal immigrants, federal authorities are expected to announce tough rules this week that would require employers to fire workers who use false Social Security numbers.

Employers, especially in agriculture and low-wage industries, said they were deeply worried about the new rules, which could force them to lay off thousands of immigrant workers. More than 70 percent of farmworkers in the fields of the United States are illegal immigrants, according to estimates by growers’ associations.

The expected regulations would give employers a fixed period, perhaps up to 90 days, to resolve any discrepancies between identity information provided by their workers and the records of the Social Security Administration. If workers’ documents cannot be verified, employers would be required to fire them or risk up to $10,000 in fines for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

The new rules codify an uneasy partnership between the Department of Homeland Security, which enforces the immigration laws, and the Social Security Administration, which collects identity information from W-2 tax forms of about 250 million workers each year, so it can credit the earnings in its system.

If any of you are affected by this new “crack-down,” or know or work with anyone that is, it is so important for you to make sure this information gets out there.  In many cases upon receiving no-match letters, employers fire workers immediately–or those named leave right away because they feel scared, intimidated, or that they will not have any support if they try to stay.

Here’s the text of the ACLU announcement:

Court Halts Government From Implementing Flawed Social Security No-Match Rule (8/31/2007)

Judge Issues Order After Lawsuit Is Filed by AFL-CIO, ACLU, and National Immigration Law Center

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal judge today issued an order temporarily blocking the government from implementing a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule that would cause U.S. citizens and other authorized workers to lose their jobs, and which would illegally use error-prone social security records as a tool for immigration enforcement. The judge’s order also stops the Social Security Administration (SSA) from beginning to send notices on Tuesday to approximately 140,000 employers across the country notifying them of the new rule, which would impact approximately eight million workers.

The order comes as a result of a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the Central Labor Council of Alameda County along with other local labor movements. A hearing on the groups’ request to permanently bar the implementation of the DHS rule is scheduled for October 1 before U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer.

“We are very pleased that the judge recognized the need to halt the implementation of this ill-advised DHS rule,” said John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO. “Employers have historically used SSA ‘no-match’ letters to exploit workers and this rule would only give them a stronger pretext for doing more of the same.”

In the lawsuit, the groups charge that the misguided rule violates the law and workers’ rights and imposes burdensome obligations on employers who receive SSA “no-match” letters that inform them of alleged discrepancies between employee records and the SSA database.

U.S. District Judge Maxine M. Chesney found that the groups “raised serious questions as to whether the new Department of Homeland Security rule is inconsistent with statute and beyond the statutory authority of the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.”

“The court found the balance of hardships tips sharply in favor of staying the rule while it is being challenged,” said Scott A. Kronland of Altshuler Berzon LLP, who argued at today’s hearing. “We are confident we will prevail when the court hears the case on the merits.”

Currently, employers who receive “no-match” letters stating that their employees’ identification documents don’t match SSA records are not required to take any action. The new DHS rule would impose liability on employers based on failure to respond to an SSA “no-match” letter, even though SSA errors are caused by many innocent factors such as typographical errors and name changes due to marriage or divorce, and the use of multiple surnames, which is common in many parts of the world. According to the Office of the Inspector General in SSA, 12.7 million of the 17.8 million discrepancies in SSA’s database – more than 70% – belong to native-born U.S. citizens. Under the DHS rule, employers might be required to fire employees whose erroneous SSA records are not fixed within 90 days after the “no-match” letter is sent. The DHS rule would threaten jobs of U.S. citizens and other legally authorized workers simply because of errors in the government’s inaccurate social security earnings database.

“This is a crucial and significant first step in challenging this rule, which would be a bureaucratic and costly nightmare for employers and many U.S. citizens and other legally authorized workers,” said Lucas Guttantag, Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

“Today’s ruling takes us one step closer to an eventual finding that the DHS rule is unlawful. This is a great Labor Day victory for the millions of workers who would have been affected by no-match notice letters being sent out next week,” said Marielena Hincapié, Staff Attorney and Director of Programs at NILC.

Today’s order was handed down in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

In addition to the AFL-CIO, which is represented by the law firm of Altshuler Berzon, LLP, other parties bringing the lawsuit include the Central Labor Council of Alameda County, represented by the ACLU, the ACLU of Northern California, and NILC, as well as the San Francisco Labor Council and the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, represented by Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld.

In addition to Guttentag and Hincapié, lawyers on the case include Stephen Berzon, Scott Kronland, Jonathan Weissglass, Linda Lye and Danielle Leonard of Altshuler, Berzon; Jonathan Hiatt, James Copess and Ana Avendaño of the AFL-CIO; Jennifer Chang, Mónica M. Ramírez, and Omar Jadwat of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project; Alan Schlosser and Julia Mass of the ACLU of Northern California; Linton Joaquin and Monica Guizar of NILC; and David Rosenfeld and Manjari Chawla of Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld.

The complaint in the lawsuit can be found at:

The order issued today can be found at:

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MOD withdraws Operation Banner document

From the Pat Finucane Centre:

The British Ministry of Defence has agreed to temporarily withdraw and amend its controversial military analysis of Operation Banner, the British Army codename for operations here between August 1969 and July 31 2007. Stephanie English of the PFC explained:

“The decision was prompted by a complaint we lodged on behalf of the family of Derry teenager Daniel Hegarty who was shot dead by British soldiers during Operation Motorman in the early hours of July 31 1972 in the Creggan estate, Derry. In July this year the Pat Finucane Centre alerted the media and public to the existence of the military document and highlighted a number of serious errors and gaps in the document. These included a
reference to Operation Motorman where it was claimed that Daniel Hegarty, an unarmed 15 year teenager, was a ‘terrorist’. We wrote to Defence Minister Des Brown in July and called from the document to be withdrawn and the reference to Daniel Hegarty corrected. We pointed out that (then NIO Minister) Des Brown had actually written to the Hegarty family in 2003 and had expressly clarified that “neither I nor the Government have ever said that Daniel was a terrorist.”

The Ministry of Defence have now replied and confirmed that, “As you state in your letter the Secretary of State has previously written letters to the effect that Daniel is considered innocent and we continue to stand by those comments. The paragraph in question is inaccurate and this should have been picked during proof reading, but unfortunately was not.

The MOD spokesperson continued, ” I recognise the considerable distress this must have caused the family and
I have instructed the report be removed from our website and an amended version produced. I would also like to offer my sincere apologies to Daniel’s family.

Daniel’s sister Margaret Brady has welcomed the belated recognition of the hurt caused to the family. “I welcome the fact that this document is to be amended. Its wrong that we should have to fight to clear Daniel’s name when the wrong was done to us in the first place. I only wish they would accept that the British Army shot many many people without justification and where they posed no threat. Young Seamus Bradley was shot that same night and his inquest found that he was unarmed.

Stephanie English of the PFC said, “To be honest we were in for the long haul and thought that much more pressure would be needed but it seems that very few people in Whitehall are willing to stand over this document which is littered with inaccuracies, exaggerations and deeply racist assumptions. We do feel it important to set the record straight. It’s a pity that the other rubbish cannot be corrected but at least this represents a small victory for the Hegarty family.


Contact the PFC at 02871 268846 for more information. The Hegarty family have requested that the media not contact them for private family reasons.

Contact Derry office or Newry office Please delete all other PFC emails. Website

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