It was a story that had all of us hoping for a miracle. A tiny baby clinging to life for two days after being scooped up by a tornado that killed her parents and two siblings. The little girl didn’t make it and today was buried in a snow-covered cemetery, a poignant end to what had seemed to be a miracle story of survival. An American flag hung at half-staff as relatives of Angel Babcock gathered for the private burial. Angel, her mother and her 2-month-old sister were buried in one casket. Her father and 2-year-old brother were in another.
The little girl died Sunday at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky., after suffering severe head and neck injuries when a tornado struck her family’s home in New Pekin, Ind., and swept her into the field. Her death is one of 40 from the tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest and South on Friday. The miracle survivor amid widespread devastation wrought by the storms, Angel captivated the world with her fight to live. Though found critically injured, she was opening her eyes when she arrived at the hospital in Kentucky, which workers said was a hopeful sign.
But her condition deteriorated Saturday as her brain swelled, chief nursing officer Cis Gruebbel said. As the day went on, Angel’s eyes stopped moving, and there was no sign of brain activity. Her grandmother said the family decided to take her off life support, after hospital workers said there was nothing else they could do. “I had my arm around her when she took her last breath,” her grandmother, Kathy Babcock, told ABC News. “I sang to her ‘Itsy-bitsy spider.”’ The family was buried in two caskets in the pauper section at Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem, Police Maj. Scott Ratts said. Relatives said the funeral of their five family members had been paid for by outside donors, but there are still other burial and medical expenses the family is trying to figure out how to pay them.
At least two banks set up funds to benefit the Babcock family, and Ratts said contributions have come in from all over the country. Dozens of major media outlets from places as far away as England, Norway and New Zealand, had been clamoring for news of Angel and her family. “This family had been suffering with the bad economy, and now with the storms … I mean, they have five burials in one day,” Ratts said. Pansy Branscum, who attended today’s burial, said she was still stunned by the loss. “It’s a tragedy that we don’t understand, but God does,” she said as she and her husband, Milton, carried large arrangements of red-and-white carnations to the burial site.
The tornado that killed Angel and her family was among an estimated 30 packing winds of more than 110 mph that hit the Midwest and South on Friday, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist at the center, said the assessment of the storms is still preliminary, and a series of weaker tornadoes that also struck could boost the total number of twisters to 60 or 70. Carbin said the fact that the outbreak occurred as early in the year as it did was a “once in a decade-type event, maybe once or twice a decade.”
The Indianapolis Star and Louisville Courier-Journal contributed to this report.
Rush Limbaugh is a pig. If it snorts like a pig, walks like a pig and talks like a pig…well, you get it. Radio host Rush Limbaugh said his apology to the Georgetown law student he called a “slut” was sincere but also joked that he, too, got a busy signal Monday when he called the show to join the growing roster of advertisers abandoning it. The student, Sandra Fluke, said Limbaugh’s apology did nothing to change the corrosive tone of the debate over health care coverage and that Americans have to decide whether they want to support companies that continue to advertise on his program. AOL on Monday became the eighth advertiser to leave Limbaugh’s three-hour show as he sought to stem the exodus of advertisers and fellow conservatives declined to offer him support. “I should not have used the language I did, and it was wrong,” a rarely contrite Limbaugh told listeners.
The problem, in a nutshell, is Limbaugh’s apology is a non-apology. Alex Petri writes that these days, apologies come in two flavors: the command apology, issued under duress, and the snarky, self-serving sorry-you-mistook-my-meaning. These can even be the same apology. Apologies are like kidneys – if not given willingly, they lose some of their luster. One of Rick Perry’s mottoes, during his brief campaign, a period of a few months in which he never managed entirely to extricate his foot from his mouth, was Never Apologize. We don’t need a president who apologizes for America, he kept reminding us.
If true, this is a relief. The apology is an entirely lost art. If you want a full set of jousting armor, there are still people who can make you one. But an apology? Forget it. That craft died somewhere before the thank-you note did. The last man who knew how to make a real, sincere apology perished in the Great Fire of Chicago. (“Begin by admitting it’s your fault — ” he gasped, as the roof-beam fell in.) Historians tell us that the apology was once a thing you made when you realized that you were in the wrong. You used to heap ashes on your head, dress in sackcloth, and crawl about on your knees shouting, “Woe is me! I was wrong!” No wonder it’s out of fashion. These days, we are never wrong. Our facts might be wrong, but if so, we can get better ones on the Internet. Our choice of words might be wrong, but you should have known what we meant.
The problem is our national dialogue is so nasty and vulgar, if the talking heads apologized for every stupid thing they said, the airwaves would be nothing short of contrition. The problem is not owned by those on the far right although they are the loudest right now as they challenge the Obama White House. The noise from right wing nut jobs is deafening. As I was perusing Radio Talk Host Chris Baker’s Facebook page this weekend, I discovered another new conspiracy coming from the extreme right. Only a couple of days after the repulsive drive by media assassin Andrew Breitbart dropped dead on the sidewalk in front of his house, at least according to his father in-law the actor Orson “Me and the Orgone” Bean, the right wing conspiracy saw is buzzing away.
On the Drudge Report this past Friday the rabid conservative radio host Michael Savage suggested a hit job on Breitbart was entirely possible. The consensus of the budding Who Killed Breitbart? movement suggests that Breitbart was about to release “incriminating” tapes of interviews he conducted in Chicago over dinner with weather overgrounders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Google Breitbart Dohrn and Ayers and you can see a group photo of Breitbart with the duo. An article on the conservative World News Daily suggested that we will know if Breitbart was whacked,, most likely by an Obama death squad, if the tapes don’t come out.
If in the matter of Andrew Breitbart it was love and not murder conspiracies you were craving MSNBC cable crowd was the place to be. Most emblematic was Keith Olbermann’s replacement Lawrence O’Donnell. Along with Arianna Huffington, the writer Toure and another guest whose name escapes me, O’Donnell and company shed more tears for the dearly departed Breitbart than they ever did for the victims of Breitbart’s Big Lies such as ACORN and Shirley Sherrod who lost her job at the Agriculture Department after Breitbart released yet another doctored, or “severely edited” tape portraying Sherrod as a black racist. “Time to put down the sword,” Toure solemnly intoned.
Huffington and O’Donnell absurdly beatified the same man who maligned their respective colleagues, in the case of the Huffington Post, reporter James Stein, and in the case of MSNBC, take your pick. Better yet, go to Media Matters and see the long list of liberals and progressives slimed by Breitbart. O’Donnell praised Breitbart for never bringing partisanship to social gatherings and always so full of life. Baker offered on his Facebook page a link to a You Tube video from a CIA whistleblower who talks about a gun that shoots a frozen dart of poison that mimicks a heart attack in the unfortunate victim. Does Baker actually believe this? I think he does. It is more noise from the right? Without question.
President Obama meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House this morning. Their discussion, at a time when Israel refuses to rule out an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, could help determine if there will be a new Middle East war in the coming months. Yesterday, the president focused on that in a speech to an important pro-Israel lobbying group, fiercely defending his administration’s commitment to Israel and making clear the U.S. shares Israel’s desire to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. But he also seemed intent on pointing out that he wants more time for diplomacy, saying he has a “deeply held preference for peace over war.” “I have Israel’s back,” Mr. Obama declared in his speech to the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The president promised to act militarily if necessary to defend Israel, saying, “Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States. … I have said that, when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say.” But he also made clear he prefers diplomacy, and that tough economic sanctions are working. “Already,” Mr. Obama said, “there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program.”
It’s the same message the president will deliver today to Netanyahu, who made clear Israel does not need U.S. permission to attack Iran. “Perhaps most important of all,” Netanyahu said, “I appreciated the fact that he said that Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.” Netanyahu said last week he would not set down “red lines” for Israeli or U.S. action, but he has said publicly he would go further than the us and demand Iran end all of its uranium enrichment. “The demands on Iran,” he said, “should be clear: dismantle the underground nuclear facility in Qom, stop enrichment inside Iran, and get all the enriched material out of Iran.”
That is the crux of the discussion Mr. Obama and Netanyahu will have today. Netanyahu wants to make sure Iran never even gets close to developing the capability to have a nuclear weapon. And the personal dynamics of the session will also be interesting. It will be the ninth Obama/Netanyahu meeting. Their last one in the Oval Office was pretty tense. And when the president was asked to describe their relationship, he called it “functional.”
Obama intends to tell Prime Minister Netanyahu that he wants to solve the Iranian nuclear problem “permanently, as opposed to temporarily.” In an interview with The Atlantic released on Friday, Obama said, “Our argument is going to be that it is important for us to see if we can solve this thing permanently, as opposed to temporarily.” He continued, “The only way historically that a country has ultimately decided not to get nuclear weapons without constant military intervention has been when they themselves take [nuclear weapons] off the table. That’s what happened in Libya, that’s what happened in South Africa.”
According to The Atlantic, Obama was concerned that a premature Israeli strike on Iran would make the regime less isolated. “At a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally [Syria,] is on the ropes, do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim?” the US president rhetorically asked. Trying to shore up the US commitment to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, Obama said, “I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff.” “Both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say,” he continued.
While he and Netanyahu come from different political traditions, Obama said they have a strong working relationship. “For the most part, when we have differences, they are tactical and not strategic.” Plus, he added, “I think we in the United States instinctively sympathize with Israel.” Ultimately, the US president expressed that he believes it is up to Israel to decide what is best for its security, but hopes to influence Israel’s decision-making process. “I don’t presume to tell them what is best for them,” he said, before laying out the case for allowing sanctions and external pressure to work. “You’re talking about the most volatile region in the world,” Obama said. “The dangers of Iran getting nuclear weapons that then leads to a free-for-all in the Middle East is something that I think would be very dangerous for the world.”
I’m not real sure how long President Obama wants to wait before something is done about Iran. Diplomacy never works when you are talking about extremists who hate us and hate our allies. There is nothing in the dialogue from Tehran that has ever indicated they would consider stopping their nuke program under any circumstances. Since the 1980′s when whack-jobs in the Iranian capitol took 52 Americans hostage through today, Iran continues to sponsor terrorism and is nothing more than a menace in the Middle-East. The reality is that a nuclear armed Iran is in no ones best interest and nothing short of destroying that capability will stop the Iranians from developing nukes. No one wants war, no one wants to use military force to achieve a viable solution but that’s probably the only real option there is. There are regional considerations. Other Islamic nations don’t want Israel to have an upper hand but no one wants Iran with nuclear weapons.