Sunday, October 09, 2011

Daily Links - October 9, 2011

This is very well-argued.

Walt and Mearsheimer will love this book.

What do smart people do with 1.4 million dollars?

Bye, bye.

While on the subject of David Frum, I can definitely relate to this.

Not everyone is so fond of the famous Steve Jobs commencement speech.

Is OccupyWallStreet the US' J-14 Protests?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Daily Links - September 27, 2011

Aaron David Miller on why Obama would be foolish to try to broker the conflict. Miller clearly respects Abbas more than Bibi.

Nice to see some tolerance out of some Egyptian clerics.

Hussein Ibish on the speech Arafat should have given.

This study doesn't seem so surprising.

Neither does this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Daily Links - September 26, 2011

Mearsheimer responds to charges that he favorably reviewed the book of an Anti-Semite. He didn't do much research apparently. That didn't stop Brian Leiter from supporting him.

How important is the fight over the Obamacare mandate to constitutional law? Not very.

Krugman was way off with Ireland.

A poignant and timely call for teams to recognize the psychological needs of players.

I'm going to try to get through this book over Rosh Hashana. Pray for me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Daily Links - September 25, 2011

Saudi women are now equal to men -- equally powerless.

An excellent description of where the I/P conflict is right now. Very few are as good as Mead in explaining this stuff.

The Arab Spring is not all peachy, at least for the non-Arabs.

Not exactly a Keynesian view.

An interesting analysis about how Blacks, Jews, Gays, etc. ended up part of the moral community. It's not often the choices are Marxian, evolutionary, or Nietzschen.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Daily Links - September 24, 2011

But the PA supports terror. Does this make the US a state-sponsoring terrorism?

Some good, some bad, but probably more accurate than Abbas' speech.

A lot of this article could have been written by Elder of Ziyon or Jameel at the Muqata.

What does Walt have to say about his co-author's open support for antisemitism?

Phew, relativity is safe.

Given the existence of a liquidity trap, is inflation the way to go?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Daily Links - September 22, 2011

There's the final nail in the coffin of the myth that Abbas rejected Olmert's deal. Of course, we already knew that.

Politics is why Palestine will not be able to prosecute Israelis in the International Criminal Court.

Glenn Greenwald chastises Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs for issuing an intemperate, childish opinion -- in an intemperate, childish post.

Cluelessness on the UWS.

His inability to throw the ball to first really was inexplicable.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Daily Links - September 21, 2011

According to a recent poll a substantial majority of Palestinians support Abbas' gambit at the UN. He may have overstayed his term, but he is doing the will of his people.

More examples of Obama's hatred towards Israel.

Modern science is not a friend of free will.


Law as a system of planning.

How the health care mandate does not mean unlimited power for Congress.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Daily Links - September 20, 2011

Would Milton Friedman have supported more quantitative easing?

Greg Mankiw claims the rich pay more than double of their income in federal taxes. Krugman doesn't think that matters.

The brain is amazing, but it has some amazing flaws.

Even by traditional stats, Rivera is light-years ahead of every other reliever ever.

Why are Jews so clueless when it comes to Obama?

Should Israel challenge China's misconception? (Page 156, at the bottom or search for "protocols").

Monday, September 19, 2011

Daily Links - September 19, 2011

Hussein Ibish channels Khaled Elgindy in Foreign Affairs and essentially claims that Palestinian statehood bid is designed to further the peace process by breaking the parties out of the rut they are in. Rashid Khalidi disagrees.

Accordingly to a poll taken by the BBC, majority of the world and even majority of Americans support Abbas' gambit at the UN. The US will veto anyway.

Even smart and relatively open-minded people have obvious blind spots.

An excellent post on how Rawls and Hayek/Nozick do not disagree as much as people might think. Should be required reading for the GOP leadership, assuming, of course, they could understand it.

Is philosophical naturalism sustainable

More data on what is being referred to more and more as the "law school scam."

Kosher lights on Shabbos? Sounds cool, let's leave it at that. Kosher computers/Ipads/Iphones would be the end of the Shabbos.

Is inflation always evil? Not according to Krugman.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Daily Links - September 18, 2011

Commentary believes that Obama is to blame for the upcoming Palestinian statehood initiative at the UN. Others agree, but for reasons that don't involve assuming the absurd idea that Obama is engaged in a war on Israel.

In anticipation of the Palestinian statehood vote this week, the JCPA put out an E-book that contains some good articles, but also a lot of propaganda.  (Hat Tip: EOZ).

Juan Cole is clueless about the Israeli Supreme Court's many orders (I, II) against Israeli land expropriation in the territories. 

I assume this post by Elder of Ziyon is supposed to be ironic or he is simply blind to the fact that Zionism creates the exact same problems.

It amazes me that anyone would take Turkey serious on the Gaza issue. Their misdeeds in Cyprus read exactly like what Israel is accused of doing. 

Supporters of the "whole Constitution" are no better than Grover Norquist.

Noam Chomsky on apparently why intellectuals should live their lives on the fringes of society.

I have not read this article, but this whole enterprise -- analyzing how Halacha is actually decided -- is long overdue.

Republicans have found one tax cut they don't like -- payroll taxes for poor and middle class people.

The new Steven Pinker book seems to be a tad too long at 832 pages. But if it's anything like his previous books, it will be well-written, meticulously documented, and overly controversial.

I'm Back

It's been a VERY long time since I last blogged here, but I figure that rather than spamming other people's Facebook feeds, I might as well put my energy here. So I intend to post links to various articles, blogs, etc. a few times a week or even every day, time permitting. From there, who knows? I might start blogging again. For those of you who last read this blog because of the Rafi updates, you should know that Rafi is doing great. He has many surgeries in his future, but he's doing quite well all things considered and even started school this week! He's also excited about his new brother Gavi, who's almost three months old.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rafi 16 Month Update

A lot has happened since Rafi's 12 month birthday, especially in his eating development. As mentioned, Rafi no longer relies on a feeding tube for nourishment, but we still had to spoonfeed all his meals until just a couple of months ago. I'm proud to say that Rafi only now needs the occasional spoonfeeding and has since learned to eat food off his booster tray!

In terms of upcoming jaw surgeries, much has been postponed. As we found out at our last NYU conference that when Rafi was born, the surgeons believed that he would need to start those surgeries as early as possible (in Rafi's case when he would be 2 or 2 1/2 years old) due to his health conditions. However, since he is thankfully doing so well, the surgeons would much prefer to wait. The new surgery date is unknown, but will probably not be set until Rafi is about 4 or 5 years old. I had been hoping to get some of his surgeries over with next year, but it seems that it would be best to wait, and so that is what we'll do.

When Rafi is about 5 years old or so he will have additional surgeries concerning his hearing. He currently wears a BAHA hearing aid on a headband, and when he is older, the BAHA will be implanted in place. Also, any ear canal damage or underdevelopment will be resolved in multiple surgeries as well. Eventually he will have a new outer right ear and the ability to hear from it!

In other news, Rafi is doing very well developmentally. He is a healthy, active little boy who loves his toys, books, and whatever outdoor time we can get, weather permitting. Thankfully we have a great playroom in our apartment complex so Rafi can run around indoors (and now he's really running!) in the winter months. Rafi has yet to say any words, but his speech therapists are working on that. They have successfully taught Rafi a few signs, such as "bye-bye," "more," and "give me," which help Rafi communicate his needs.

We are so grateful for Rafi's progress and continue to be so proud of him!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rafi: 12 month update

Rafi celebrated his 1st birthday with family and friends this past month, and the event was truly special. After everything our little family has been through this year, the birthday was especially meaningful. It gave us the oppurtunity to thank many of those who helped us and continue to help us deal with our situation with Rafi, whether it be physical or emotional support. Additionally, the birthday gave us the impetus to reflect on this past year and how far developmentally Rafi has grown.

Rafi has now surpassed his need for a feeding tube, his last session with one being in mid-August (and will hopefully never need one again) and he can now stand and walk with great improvement. His babbling shows promise of his first words, hopefully to come soon (can't wait!). Additionally, he shows understanding of simple requests, ("Come to Ima!" or "Give that to me.") by actually following through! Rafi has also stopped receiving feeding therapy, and is now engaged in speech therapy alone, which he enjoys.

A lot has been going on with Rafi's medical situation as well. Just recently, Rafi underwent minor surgery to remove his feeding tube stomach button, which was successful (except that now he's being treated for an infection from the surgery--he should be totally fine within the next couple of weeks). He has also been seeing an audiologist at New York Eye and Ear who fit him for a Baha hearing aid (which is worn on a headband; no surgery required). It's tough to keep the Baha on his head, though, but with time Rafi should get used to wearing it.

Since the weather has been so nice, Rafi's been spending a lot of time pushing his car-walker around various neighborhood playgrounds, especially those with bonus sprinklers. It always surprises me when he suddenly walks away from his little car and ambles off on his own, but I guess I've got to used to seeing that.

All in all Rafi's come a long way and we continue to be so proud of him!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rafi: 10 Month Update

At 10 1/2 months, Rafi has made a lot of headway since the 8-month mark. His crawling has advanced to warp speed and he cruises furniture with ease. Rafi's latest feat is standing in place for about 20 seconds--maybe he'll even try walking soon! Some of his other "tricks" include waving bye-bye, clapping, and tossing his toys out of the tub while bathing.

Rafi has continued to grow so well physically that he was actually discharged from physical therapy, making his day-to-day schedule a lot easier to manage. He still receives feeding therapy, and his therapist will also soon incorporate speech therapy, but Rafi is making a lot of progress in his eating as well. Using a hand-held mesh "easy feeder," Rafi enjoys eating soft fruits on his own, and gets a lot of chewing practice. When I blend food for him, I can now make it a lot more textured than in previous months, and Rafi can handle it with marked improvement. He still receives his formula via feeding tube, but he's also getting better at drinking from a sippy cup, so hopefully we won't have to continue with the tube much past his first birthday. We also have an appointment with an audiologist at the New York Eye and Ear later in July, who will be fitting Rafi for a hearing aid in his right ear.

In terms of doctors' appointments, Rafi's schedule has become considerably lighter. After our "make-up" sleep study, which thankfully concluded that Rafi does not need any kind of ENT surgery at the moment, his appointments are at an all-time low. We did have a scare at the end of last month when his feeding button (port on his stomach) fell out (we were warned that could happen) and we had to take a late-night trip to the ER to get it replaced. After it fell out again the next afternoon, the doctor concluded that it was simply too small and placed a larger-sized one instead. Since then, we thankfully haven't had any trouble with it.

Since we're not spending too much quality time at doctors, Rafi has really expanded his recreational side. We've been to the weekly storytime sessions with other infants at our local library and also frequent the playgrounds. Rafi loves the swings, slides, crawling around and picking up foreign objects, and watching the older kids. Our building complex thankfully has a great playroom for rainy days and now that Rafi is a little older, he can appreciate many more toys. We also recently went to the Central Park Zoo and Rafi fearlessly pet the sheep and goats.

All in all, things are really improving for Rafi. He is just a regular baby, soon to be toddler, very inquisitive and curious, and getting his hands into anything they can reach. We are so grateful and fortunate for his progress and hope he will continue to grow and develop as well as he is now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rafi: 8-Month Update

Rafi is now about 8 and a half months old and continues to be one resourceful little boy. After a long while of experimenting with variations, Rafi has finally learned how to crawl! He's also pulling up on furniture, cruising a little, and can now lower himself back to the ground a lot more gracefully than when he first started. Babyproofing has turned out to be a work-in-progress since it's sometimes tough to figure out what he can and cannot get himself into, but we adjust his space accordingly.

In terms of speech, Rafi's recently added "ma-ma" to his vocabulary of random yells and croaking sounds. He'll undoubtedly need speech therapy because of his irregular jaw, but it's good to know that he's motivated to try new sounds.

Feeding Rafi has always been an issue, and the feeding tube will remain his main source of nutrition until he's about a year old. It's sometimes tough to feed an energetic baby who technically doesn't have to sit still to eat (although it would certainly make the process easier for me!), but thank goodness for distracting PBS shows. On Shabbos and Yomtov, reading to him while he's eating is generally enough of a distraction. Rafi loves to hear his books while eating solid foods, which he eats pretty well, although we're still in the stage 1, super-pureed foods, and have to hold off on finger foods. He can drink pretty well from a regular cup, (if I hold it while he's drinking), which is also promising for eventually dropping the feeding tube. Just a short while ago, Rafi actually held and drank from a cup of water all by himself (except that he was in the bathtub at the time, ewww!).

I still take Rafi to lots of doctors' appointments and other tests, and we recently saw his dentist, cardiologist, pediatrician, one of his surgeons, and ENT. Everyone was pleased with Rafi's tests, besides for the ENT. He did not like the results of the last sleep study (some numbers had improved, while others had not) and asked us to retake the test. We'll be going to the site of our first sleep study (definitely not Cornell) this Sunday night, and hopefully the poor results were just the result of a poorly done test. If the results are the same however, then the ENT said that the NYU team would have to discuss surgery options. This is, of course, disappointing, when everything else seems to be ok, but we'll have to wait a bit and see what happens.

Otherwise, Rafi is doing so, so well. His Early Intervention therapists are happy with his progress, and so are we.