Umar Farouk Abdul

Andrew Sullivan, in his diligent and sentimental response to my complaint against him the other day, retreats immediately to the personal. “I have Irish blood and a Catholic conscience.” “There will be times in which the emotion of the moment will overwhelm me.” “Am I insensitive? At times, I’m sure I am.” “I’m a South Park devotee, for Pete’s sake.” What, precisely, does any of this extenuate? There will be times in which the emotion of the moment will overwhelm me, too--and those are the times in which I will choose not to write.

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Brooke Astor's son, Anthony, whom the Daily News called a “convicted swindler,” was accused by his own son Philip basically of “elder abuse.” It's quite likely that Philip hated his father even than more than he may have loved his grandmother whom, we were told ad nauseum, all New Yorkers adored. This mass of people was represented in the court proceedings by just plain folks like Henry Kissinger and Annette De La Renta. Their accusations against the Astor fortune heiress' only child seemed real, and the judge was, well, judicious.

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“Copacetic.” “Fine and dandy,” says the Webster's New International. Textured origins can be found in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and the various Oxfords. Mixed origins, actually, from the black South, Creole French, Harlem jazz, Italian and Hebrew/Yiddish. The last pairing points to a Hebrew phrase, “kol b'tsedek,” “all with justice.” I've never heard this phrase, and I don't believe it's the secret behind "copacetic" for a moment.

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I dimly remembered that Mohammed Atta and at least three of his brothers (a big word in Islam) had been known to security agencies at least a year before 9/11 as "likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States." This quote is from an August 9, 2005 article written by ace- investigator-of-intricate-matters Douglas Jehl for the New York Times.

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