Friday, June 30, 2006

Poor People Sleep Less

Ignore this study. Here is the reason why rich people sleep more:

"Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man health, wealthy and wise."

When we moved from our starter home to a nicer neighborhood one of the most amazing things (besides the fact people actually use their garages for cars) was that the lights were out neighborhood wide around 10 p.m.

H/T Drudge

Star Jones: How Not to Leave Gracefully

When someone leaves a job and cries at a squealing pitch about how wronged she is, other people get the impression that said person was let go for legitimate reasons. Star Jones risks blowing any future career opportunities because she simply cannot fathom that someone would fire her and won't shut up about it. Right or wrong, it's done. Move on. She could have exited gracefully and not burned bridges. Too late now.

Advice when fired:

  1. Leave with dignity. Don't stoop to gossip. Don't bad talk your employer.
  2. Learn what you can. Did you play even a teensy, weensy part in the process? Just a bit? Maybe?
  3. Look for the opportunities. You're suddenly free! That career move or city you've always dreamed about is possible now. Carpe diem.

Are Americans Overworked?

This debate comes up every summer as people see their neighbors leave for exotic places and suffer a severe case of Vacation Envy.

On the one hand, Americans seem to have honed the fine art of "busy-ness"--climbing on the treadmill of life and going and going and believing they're going somewhere. Are they really working so much because they have to or because they want to?

On the other hand, some Americans work with a panic level now, due to downsizings and market instability. Even though the economy is great, people don't want to be looking for a job. They feel that working harder or at least longer, separates them from the average workers.

Is it possible that the only meaning lots of people have in life is work?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Testosterone for Women

There are natural alternatives to taking synthetic or mass-produced testosterone. Like so many hormonal enhancements there are unintended health-consequences and most seem to affect the heart.

One common help is adrenal support (this is where testosterone is made in women) in the form of co-factors like B vitamins and Vitamin C and Zinc. Also, there are gonadatrophins, supplements that feed the gland so it can heal by Standard Process. These are natural alternatives to chemically changing biochemistry versus giving the body the raw material so it can heal itself.

Antibiotic Can Cause Liver Failure

Takers of Ketek beware.

The other Dr. Clouthier talks about beta-blocker dangers. Britons are being removed from them right now.

There is no such thing as a safe medication.

Arabs Hate Israel

This just in, Arabs all over Arabia hate Israel. They used to like them, kinda, but still enjoyed giving then occasional nouggies but that was waaaaay back when Isaac and Ishmael were still talking.

Tomorrow, in News of the Obvious, Physicists will discuss the danger of jumping from 40 story buildings. "We're very concerned that people don't know the full dangers of leaping carelessly from 400 feet to the ground. Even if you land "right" the fall is fatal and people should know that so they can avoid the risks," says Dr. Newton.

Money & Happiness

It doesn't buy it, but it sure makes misery nicer.

Al Zarquawi's Mom's Blog

You think I'm kidding? His mom has a blog and here is what she says:

this burqa is very hot. filthy LA traffic! I am sitting in a boiling hot Prius with some crazy lady named Laurie David. She lent me her blackberry and she is taking me to some expo and i am getting very tired. I would like some water. I spent all of yesterday listening to fat sweaty man named Rob Reiner talk about "footprints." If my son were here...He would need a big knife for such a fat man. WHy does he always wear such a silly hat? This is the moment when the hand of the Merciful Allah strikes down my son's enemy for this terrible boxed lunch. There is very little meat in this wrap. all lettuce and caesar dressing. Do they not know who I am? these eaters of pigs... I doubt the Bush one eats boxed lunches. Or drives a Prius. Hold on, Laurie is asking me something... sorry, she missed the exit. . I am a grieving mother of an innocent victim in a war on terror and i am listening to someting called Yanni. this is NoT music. Who are these people? WHen will the hand of the Merciful Allah strike down my son's enemies and put on some decent music? blessed me this Laurie David drives like a drunk goat. She almost hit a real car.
I miss my son. Not his wives. Combined age, they were 18. I told him to date some one closer to his age, but did he listen? No. And I won't even get started about the chickens. Now it is time for the Bush one, cursed be he! Allah needs to make level with CNN for bumping me from the show last night. I had all my talking points written down. Sat in the green room for hours. Then they have a fitness instructor on to talk about "problem areas."
There is only one problem area. That is America.
Perhaps we will stop at Wendy's. They have those square burgers, no?

She is going on my blogroll. Praise Allah!

H/T Andrew Sullivan. Thanks Andrew, I think our shared humor might be the only thing we share. Maybe not the only thing, but close to the only thing.


A nihilistic pursuit. Is that an oxymoron?

Men and Women: Do Opposite- Sex Friendships Work?

Since I have quite a few guy friends, my answer is yes opposite-sex friendships work. What do you readers think?

Hamdan & Terrorist Trials & Torture, Oh My!

I'm no legal scholar and can't begin to tell you what the Supreme Court's ruling means--especially for the future of waging war and the Executive Branch's power. So, for cogent analysis I'm linking to the following:

Instapundit has a round-up.

Lefty blogs say that "the rule of law" won today.

From what I can tell, whatever the Supreme Court touches turns to shit. Well, that might be a bit of an overstatement. Polemical, even. Let me put it this way: When it takes 185 pages to "clarify" a ruling, it seems that more problems will be caused than solved.

Angel Ramirez

Admits guilt. Takes responsibility for letting "the devil rule my life." Doesn't sound like he's crazy, does it? Asks forgiveness from victim's families. Executed.

Britney Spears Reveals More Than Her Body

Dr. Melissa pop culture maven extraordinaire feels compelled to comment about Ms. Spear's latest visual revelation. Back in black, the 20-something hot mama generates even more press about her pregnancy than the rest of her messy life--if that were possible. Married to K-Fed, the honky-tonk lookin', rap spewin', fancy dancin', one-man-penny-lovin' marvel leech, the pregnancy upstages her train-wreck of a union to said marvel, her parenting antics and most importantly, her breasts. Are they enhanced or not? (As a side note, I don't think so. I think that her hormones go up and down, she is well-versed with taping said appendages and her weight goes up and down, too. She is one of the lucky girls who gets bigger boobs when she gains weight.) Voyeurs everywhere must know.

A few things about this one-woman industry fascinate me.

  1. In a world absolutely saturated with everything sex, and with Ms. Spears being one of the canniest explioters of this era, even her bumping, grinding, Dominatrix wearing, Madonna-kissing antics get less press than when she is photographed pregnant and in all her God-given fertile glory. I don't think that people recoil at the unborn child being exploited. Tom Cruise could have hardly done more of that had he posed naked. I think most people recoil at the image of a woman embodying the dichotomy--pregnancy is overtly sexual isn't it? It reveals that the little kumquat isn't just a tease, afterall. And, she's a mother.
  2. Britney's damning press about her mothering stikes me as hypocritical and mean. Every first time mother screws up over and over. Every third time mother screws up. A lot. Okay, I'm projecting. Every mother knows this and is grateful her myriad foibles aren't plastered on Page One. Why must Britney be a bad mother? Could it be because you can't possibly be sexy and a good (okay average) mother, too? And add to this, Britney has taken some time out of her career and yet she is written off like a has-been who has thrown it all away for marriage (blech!) and children (double blech!!). I find the glee over her mommy troubles disturbing and overreaching and not-so-subtly misogynist.
  3. Marriage: The most difficult contract one ever enters even with Mr. or Ms. Perfection. Kevin Federline is no one's idea of perfection. Even, it seems, for his overwrought wife Britney. This aspect of Ms. Spear's personal life is so compelling because it's so common. Bad-news husbands are as old as the world's second oldest profession and hardly unique. What has changed even more in this era is the role that dirt-bag hubby fills. At one time, he usually at least worked while schtupping Sally the Secretary. No longer. The low-down, no-good leaves the working to his wife and generously let's her bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, give birth, care for children and wait on him hand and foot in all his lazy glory. Now, some guys will say, "'Bout damn time! Women have been sitting around on their every growing arses, eating bon-bons, while the kids wreck the house ah paid for and then, when I finally get sick of it and find me a more lovin' touch, divorces me and steals all mah dough!" Not only is this woman-hating bile, it also displays a serious lack of self-respect. Dude, get a job or at least be a respectable House Husband. Side note: Crappy rapping doesn't count.
Britney Spears is a modern woman in all senses. She hooked up with a still-taken guy with a pregnant wife. She has worked hard her whole life to attain her wealth, fame and status (such as it is these days). She suffers the humiliation of being married to a bum. Britney tries to balance work and family and ends up nearly dropping her kid on his round head (how metaphorical is that?). And to top it all off, she's pregnant again with the doofus she knows she should never have married to begin with. And to predict the future: This woman will divorce her husband, be a single mom to two children and have to pay alimony.

Her life reveals far more than the new Harper's Bazaar cover. Britney Spear's life reveals "equality" in all its glory. Ain't it great?

NYT Vs. The Flag

You know, I'm still exercised about the whole revealing war secrets thing. But there are people angrier than me and more eloquent too. Via Glenn Reynolds, he quotes Robert Cox:

We will never know the full extent of the damage caused by The New York Times in disclosing the SWIFT monitoring program but have no doubt it was not a benign act. Whatever agony Keller may have gone through in deciding to publish the story will pale in comparison to the agony of the victims of the next terror attack, an attack that might have been prevented save for Keller’s choice.

Playwright David Mamet once wrote of elites “you’re all the same … It’s always ‘What I’m going to do for you.’ Then you screw up and then its ‘we did the best we could. I’m dreadfully sorry’ and people like us live with your mistakes the rest of our lives.”

We may be living with Keller’s mistake for a long time to come.

No kidding. Meanwhile, a lot of other people are exercised about Flag Burning. I'll say it up front: I"m not. Frankly, I don't give a termite turd. Yes, yes, burning the flag is offensive and ignorant and annoying and disrespectful. Everyone knows this. But in a free country, I think people should be free to reveal that they are complete asses. Flag burning is one activity that reveals this.

You see, I want to be free to burn what I want. It doesn't bother me if someone wants to burn a flag, a Bible or a Koran, for that matter. It's a free country homeslice. If you want to piss-off God, you have to answer to Him on the other side. Why should us mere mortals have more fragile sensibilities? Are any of these activities nice or polite or politically correct? Well, burning the Bible and Flag, that's okay with a big minority. And yes, it bugs me that such "counter culture" intellect-wanna-bes think they demonstrate profound truths by peeing and defecating and burning Christian symbols. Mostly, it bugs me if my tax dollars go for their stupid "art".

If, on the other hand, some arteeeste wants to make a "bold statement" with his own two pence and piles of poop, may the force be with him. It's America. It reveals our strength as a nation that even unimagininative 40 year old basement dwellars are allowed to live in peace and pursue their happiness, warped as it is.

So while Flag Burning is like red ant bite, painful and irritating, the New York Times revealing national security secrets with less circumspection than the neighborhood gossip is like a bullet wound to the guts. America is bleeding right now, maybe to death, and we don't even know it. During the next big attack, when fellow Americans take their last ragged breath at the hand of demented but well-informed terrorists, the New York Times can at least have the satisfaction of knowing their treacherous paper will be the last thing people think about. At least they are notorious.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pushing During Labor

Women don't need coaching. This is one case where "if it feels good, do it" holds. Pushing during labor when the body isn't ready wastes energy and worse, often leaves the mother torn, and eventually torn emotionally, too.

Putin's Pushing Back Against Terrorists

Wouldn't you love a headline like that saying, "President Bush says to hunt down the killers responsible for the brutalizing and murdering of the U.S. servicement and hang them publically"?

I know I would.

How to Get Rich

And retire by age 30. To summarize:

  1. Give up marriage
  2. Give up children
  3. Enter professions where your performance is directly related to $ like sales, finance
  4. Once you retire, spend only 3-4% of your residual income per year to last for the rest of your life
  5. All these estimates are based on the Stock Market continuing to increase at current rates which may not happen
  6. Don't expect to be happy necessarily. Rich does not equal happy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Maxed Out Mama: Journalistic Malpractice

You know how I was miffed by the recent research about homosexuality being due to the environment of the womb? Well, Maxed Out Mama decries the stupidity generally in scientific reporting. Amen Mama! Reporters trying to simplify research for the stooge masses often miss the point entirely. Whenever I find evidence of reporting malfeasance I try to point it out and will continue to do so. It is one of my pet peeves.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Pepperidge Farm's Rialtos. Heaven in a cookie: chocolate cookies with raspberry filling and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Mmmmmm.....

Mini Coopers. I'm sorry. This obsession of mine has not dimmed in the years after it has been released. In fact, my ardor has only grown with time. I would like a snazzy, custom-painted convertable please--and before I get too old.

My Video I-Pod. Still love it. The Klipsch I-Groove is fantastic, too. I know. It's been mentioned before. A lot.

Orlando Bloom. My strange fixation persists. Please don't lecture me about the fact that he is "few" years younger than me. (That seems to be happening more and more, sheesh!) See what happens when overbearing parents prevent Duran-Duran posters in the teenage years? I get my fix soon. Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest comes out in a few weeks. And, guess what? For my added viewing pleasure there's a little Johnny Depp thrown in for spice. (Oh, by the way, rent Depp's movie Finding Neverland. It's awesome.)

Instapundit. I simply can't help myself. Glenn Reynolds has surpassed Drudge for my Obsessive-Compulsive Internet-news check. I agree with him a lot and even though he's a lawyer, he seems like a nice, even-tempered dude who has smart takes on lots of issues. Plus, he got me hooked on more Sci-Fi/Fantasy stuff--as if I need more hooks. Firefly is the best. Thank you, Glenn.

Lord of the Rings. The more I read, the more I love, love, love Tolkien. He da' man. The movies are fantastic--extended versions only, please. The shorter ones simply leave too much out. I have few quibbles with Peter Jackson's directorial decisions. My only huge beef is how he wrote Faramir's character. Heap o' crap. Beyond that, they are the only movies I can watch over and over and over again. Oh, and someone please buy me the 50th Anniversary Leather edition. Someone, anyone?

Games. Mostly Bridge, Texas Hold 'Em Poker (only with other people) and Sodukus. Sodukus are generally for mind-numbing entertainment. Along those lines, Yahoo Games has this word play game called Text Twist that is a great time waster. The other stuff is for when strategy and teamwork sound fun.

Mammograms Increase Breast Cancer Risk

For women genetically inclined, mammograms do more harm than good. Get thermographs or MRIs with differentials. They can be more accurate anyway.

Newsweek Says Brad Pitt Makes US Great

Steve brought the Newsweek home from the office and showed it to me. Brad Pitt's mug stood out in front, in front--of doctors, of common people who are doing great things and just ahead of Solidad O'Brien the reporter. Did Newsweek intend to be metaphorical in their cover? Celebrities and journalists are just a little bit, make that a lot, better than the rest of us. That was my first impression. And I laughed.

My second thought was wondering what the heck Pitt has done for mankind besides showing his glorious ass as the character Achilles in the movie Troy. For that contribution this lady will be forever grateful. I want to thank Brad here and now. What else has this pompous dude done besides cheat on his wife and procreate with ole' what's her name?

My third thought was "Hey, wait a minute. Brad Pitt wasn't really a helpy helper until he hooked up with Ms. Angelina Jolie. Why is he getting all the kudos?" Newsweek is not just silly, it's sexist, too. How typical. A woman does all the hard work (not to mentions births a baby in the middle of her hard work) and her stupid hanger-on husband gets all the credit.

Brad Pitt was interviewed for the article and bemoaned the helicopters above his house that were so loud he couldn't hear the questions. Awwww.... It does seem like his heart is in the right place and all, but all and I wish him luck. But is he, as auther Sean Smith swoons, "part of the solution"? That might be a stretch.

They Are Just More Important Than You Are

I essentially told you the same thing yesterday here, but not quite as eloquently as Andrew C. McCarthy at National Review Online did yesterday so I'm linking to his article. By the way, he believes, and I agree, that prosecuting the Times would be deeply unsatisfying, mainly because those with the bully pulpits would go to extreme lengths to protect their own and only continue to frame the administration as Constitutional and Civil Rights stomping autocrats. His opinion about letting deranged dogs lie is here.

More over at NRO by Rich Lowry who discusses Bill Keller's self-appointment as Super Secret Special Spy Intelligence Czar (I added the "super secret special spy" part).

D.C. Hotties

I thought that was a non-sequitor by those "in the know", but here's the (guys and girls) nominations over at Wonkette.

A Toddler Conversation

Setting: Master bedroom on bed in the morning
Characters: Daddy, Mama, Girl, Boy, Baby 15 months old

Baby: That's Daddy (sounded like pffats dada)

Mama: Do you want to get down and see him?

Baby: Thessss!

Baby runs into bathroom to Daddy arms up. Big hug.

Why do I get the feeling that I'll look back on days like today and remember them as the best days of my life?

Terrorist Snake

Why would a poisonous snake need to blend in? It has poison to protect him or her, right? That has been the theory, anyway. Snakes with poison usually have bright colors or rattles or something to warn competitors or predators. They don't need camo to protect themselves.

A newly discovered snake in Borneo is a chameleon and is poisonous. Now, aside from terrorizing it's prey and predators, too, by blending in and then striking, what evolutionary purpose would such traits confer?

Maybe it just doesn't like being found by nosey scientists. And how would we know if it is so rare? I'm guessing the snake blends in everywhere it's in the water. The scientists wouldn't even know that the "reed" is a snake and poisonous and blending in.....

Unlike the chameleon, it is presumably not changing colour for camouflage.

Really, we can presume this?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Transvestite Gang Terrorizes Retailers in The Big Easy

A bunch of dudes dressed like women cause a diversion (a 6'5" tall woman with 5" platforms is a diversion) and then a bunch of other "ladies" scamper out of the store with the goods.

This ploy is not new. My sister, during her two-day stint in retail way back in the day in Michigan, amiably asked one of the girls,"May I help you, Sir?" Well s/he had a fit saying, "Sir! Sir! Who you callin' 'Sir'".

But she's a smart cookie and figured out His/Her little plan and also saw his co-conspirators slithering out of the store. She ran and called the Mall Cops and busted them. Pretty funny.

H/T Drudge

Parkinsons & Pesticides

A strong link found. One of the biggest sources of pesticides as I have noted before: Golf Courses. Living on or downstream from a golf course is dangerous. Using them in the house and outside is dangerous, too.

I predict that Parkinsons will greatly increase over the coming years.

Gayness & Older Brothers

A Dr. Breedlove (I kid you not) says that a new study confirms his belief that male-pattern-gayness is biological. Older brothers, not step-brother older brothers, increase a dude's chances of being gay.

This, say researchers proves that it is the intrauterine environment that causes gayness. And I thought that getting the crap beat out of you by older brothers could cause a man to seek the affection he so lacked from his fraternity or, if you're Freudian, the guy has a repetition compulsion to seek aggressive male behavior. Or both.

But no. It's the mom's fault. Something gestationally is off.

The intrauterine environment can contribute to a host of anomalies but usually some other factor is involved, too. A woman can be exposed to toxins like medications, alcohol, pesticides, excessive hormones and who knows what else or be deprived of oxygen and nutrients and have children missing limbs, or with lowered I.Q. or with sterility or Spina Bifida or Cleft Palate or the child can go on to have a Cancer. No one would argue that these affects are desirable.

I'm noting that the research is steering away from genetics. Is being gay a genetic "defect"? And then there is the dicey double-bind of "woman's body, woman's choice." Imagine finding the gay gene and then parents wanting a "normal" kid aborting or sifting through the genetics to "opt out" of said child. Raising a gay child can be difficult, kinda like Down's Syndrome or Autism or Clubbed Feet. (I'm being sarcastic.)

No one really wants to believe that environment causes gayness either. Troubled marriages, domineering mothers, abusive fathers, absent fathers, mean older brothers, neglect, sexual abuse, etc. certainly couldn't contribute to psychological difficulties. Being gay isn't a psychological difficulty. Parents aren't implicated in their child's gender identification and sexual maturation. "You're born that way." Convenient. For everybody.

Sexuality is such a complicated mix of hormones, genetics, environment, including the gestational environment, socialization, patterning and traumas that trying to say just one element is the cause seems to be reaching for a desired end. And all this still ignores one thing: choice.

For example, my genetics would tend to lean toward the fat and squat Scottish heritage I have on both sides. That is, genetically, I have a greater likelihood to be overweight. Add to the genetic soup, a family environment of emotional eating--obsessively-compulsively reaching for the Pringles and Dr. Pepper--and my chances aren't good. Still, I have a choice about what and how much I eat even when I feel on "autopilot".

Sexuality is similar (not the same--we can survive without sex, individually, not the species--we can't survive without food). Men in all-male environments will turn to homosexuality and not consider themselves "gay." Many men who consider themselves gay marry and, by the way, procreate, because they choose the social structure of marriage and children. There is an element of will and choice to every sexual encounter. Humans are not simply driven by some instinct.

Before people copulate, the cogitate.

Are researchers hoping that by finding the "magic bullet" people will finally believe that cosmic destiny forms sexuality?

For Bible believers, even a "magic bullet" won't do it. God says homosexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication is wrong. It's wrong. No scientifc research will dissuade them. Want proof? Evolution is "Exhibit A".

Why the fight? Why the obsession? Even in a country where a majority believe that Gay Marriage should be banned and most would prefer their children to be straight, gays enjoy safety and freedom. If there is so much oppression and prejudice, why do gays enjoy better economic standing?

What is the ultimate goal of getting to the bottom of the gay mystery, if it's even possible?

Road Rage: Rule Reminders for the Vehicularly Challenged

For the love of Pete! I can't take it anymore! The driving habits of the distracted and disturbed make me crazy and I'm not gonna take it. Rather than buy a high-powered rocket launcher and attach it to my intimidating black SUV, I shall remind my dear readers (none of which need this education, of course, but they may want to forward this along to known offenders) of some basic road rules.

Don't people take Drivers Education anymore? Evidently, anyone with the I.Q. of a tree stump can get a license.

Here are my greivances and rule reviews in no particular order:

  1. The vehicle in the turn lane has the right of way. If you are sitting at a stop or exitting a shopping center, and someone is turning left off of the boulevard onto your street or into the parking lot, the other vehicle gets to go first. Always. Wait your turn, bonehead!
  2. Related to that, when pulling into a boulevard to turn, take it wide. The reason? You can see oncoming traffic. When you pull around tight and then another vehicle pulls in to go the other direction, you block each others views of the traffic and get "stuck". Idiots.
  3. At a four way stop, when two people get to the intersection at the same time, the person to the right has the right of way. First, don't sit there slack-jawed and dull waiting for the other person if you're to the right. And don't wave them through either. Just go, already and save the politesse for opening doors and letting old ladies sit on the bus. Second, if you are to the left, be patient, you selfish jerk. It is not a God-ordained right to go through the intersection first. Idiot.
  4. At a four way stop, when people in all four directions get there at the same time, those who do not cross traffic have the right of way. Those who turn right go first. Those who turn left wait. When done right, this driving "challenge" looks like a lovely vehicular ballet.
  5. When turning left or right onto a street, keep your vehicle in the lane closest to you. That is, don't turn right onto a street and veer into the other lane. Sideswiping is so much fun when some dumbass turns right while you have the left hand turn signal, but staying in the lane nearest you minimizes that risk.
  6. When passing someone on the left, you should accelerate around them and into the right lane, not slow down. No one, even Cops, gives a flip if you exceed the speed limit, momentarily, to pass. You are welcome to slow down to the speed limit once firmly in the lane. And, hello all buttheads? Listen up! Don't pass and then slow down to five miles under the speed-limit. Go to a shrink and get your subconscious anger and control issues resolved. Don't take your neurosis out on innocent travelers. Please!
  7. When merging, the person driving on the street should maintain speed. Do not slow down to allow someone into traffic. It is the other vehicle's job to merge. Thus the term merge.
  8. Mergers, if the sign says merge, merge. Don't stop! For the love of peet, if the traffic engineers believed a stop sign was necessary they would have had you stop. If you weren't talking on the telephone, rock head, you could "multi-task" accelerating and turning. I know it's a lot to manage.
  9. When someone is turning left and there is lots of traffic, and they need to turn in front of you to get into the parking lot, do not wave them across. You are then liable if they get broadsided by a vehicle that roars up to the traffic.
  10. If you are leaving a parking lot and need to make a quick left, don't cross four lanes of traffic, essentially travelling parallel to your desired route. Think ahead and go out of the parking lot another way.
  11. Use your turn signals. Maybe your wife can read your mind, but the rest of us can't.
  12. Parents, even though we are heartened that some Americans are still disciplining their off-spring, could you please refrain from doing so from the front seat. I have yet to see stellar driving from someone whose head is turned 180 yelling at junior. I dunno, I find it disconcerting when I make eye-contact with the driver ahead of me. Call me crazy.
  13. Not that you'll understand this point, but I'll write it anyway since this is a snarky rant, the Cops know you're illegal even if you drive 15 miles under the speed-limit. Towing lawn equipment is no excuse. If your car is road-worthy, drive the speed limit. You'll blend in better, I promise.
  14. A new immigrant Wop ("Wop" means without papers--a slang term used derogetorily against Italians at one time--although this guy disagrees), at least learn what the signs mean. Good grief, navigating around cell phone users only to be killed because someone doesn't know that Stop means Stop (an alternate version of "no means no".)
And finally, NEWSFLASH! You are an average driver at best. Some days you absolutely suck at driving. Don't blab on the cellphone and think that you can do two things at once. You can't. Your mediocre reflexes get 10x worse (akin to being drunk) when you yack on the phone.

Focus. Practice Zen. Be in the moment. Drive.

Oh, and follow the rules! I feel better.

Update: Psychology Today has an Article today (I hadn't read it yet) titled "Women Driven Mad". A study of 97 men and women (not exactly scientific, but fun and authoritative sounding, nonetheless) reveals this:

The change, Herman believes, stems from women's boost in self-perception and identity, resulting from a recent climb up the career ladder. "Women are now achieving things and are less tolerant of other people," she says. "They wonder, 'Don't you realize I'm a busy person?'"

In fact, what most triggers road rage among both sexes is their jobs, Herman finds in her study at Central Michigan University. "Oppressive conditions and alienation in the workplace lead people to misdirect their anger when they drive," she says. So for women, the rush of near-equality combined with the stress of high-powered jobs may be a recipe for rage.

I don't know what this says about me--a high-powered mostly stay-at-home mom with work worked around that job. I must say that I do experience "oppressive conditions [poopy diapers are definitely oppressive] and alienation [there is no one else to blame but me, I feel so alienated, from, me?] in the workplace".

NYT Expands Executive Authority

This time I can only read Scott Ott's satire grimly. This whole thing is beyond humor. Maybe after the War is won treason will be funny. Right now, it just irritates the heck outta me.

Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom Discusses Multiculturalism

On its face, multiculturalism sounds and seems so good. Fairness for everyone. Keep your cultural heritage. Don't lose your defining differences.

Multiculturalism stands in stark contrast to the Melting Pot. The Melting Pot takes people of different races, creeds and even religions and melds them. America is well-known for this.

Melting pots receive scorn in the Academy. The losses that people "suffer" outweigh any social, religious, cultural, and economic gains when becoming fully American bring. Separation physically in neighborhoods, in education and by race, creed and color, is encouraged. Until the logical end happens.

Jeff Goldstein discusses the consequences and natural outcome should multiculturalism take total hold in the U.S.:

From that structural imperative, it is an all too easy jump from the identification of particularized, group-driven grievances to a defensive (and ultimately belligerent) us vs. them mentality. And once that leap is made—and its narrative bolstered by the religious and historical “mandates” preached by radical Islamists who establish themselves as guardians and teachers of the official Word—the separation from the host society is both complete and (perversely) justified.

Most disturbingly, the acceptance of the official Islamist narrative by its newly acculturated adherents demands a repudiation of many of the laws of the host state. Which is how in Germany, for instance, a newly elected German-born chairman of the Moslem Central Council of German can come to say, “A constitution after the principle of the division of powers into the legislative, the executive and the judicial powers, is nowhere to be found in the Islamic theory of the State. From an Islamic viewpoint, this is obvious, since the laws—the laws of God—in the form of sharia, are already made and thus no legislative power is needed, in that sense of the word. Only Allah is the legislative power.”

And it is at this point that the multicultural model finds itself in a state of tension with the mandates of nationalism and a singular rule of law—something critics of multiculturalism had long warned against. That is, the kind of boutique multiculturalism that proponents of the multicultural social model found so progressive and chic (in England, “Cool Britannia")—and which was always presumed to be tempered by western rationalism --inevitably finds itself at odds with the far more serious demands of a truly (strong) multicultural model. And having providing the philosophical grounds for allowing Otherness to determine acceptable cultural practices, it becomes difficult for adherents of the multicultural model then to draw consistent and coherent lines for what is and is not permissable. Or to put it more simply, boutique multiculturalism opens the door to the demands of strong multiculturalism—demands that a host country simply cannot meet without losing its own national identity. [emphasis added]

Hence, schisms. And hence, Londonistan.

So far, the US has largely been able to withstand the pressures of cultural relativism—though legal victories that give identity groups special status under the law are always necessarily paving the way for potential challenges by ethnic groups for special dispensation. This is why hate crime laws or “race"-based affirmative action are each so problematic—not for their intent, but for their practical legal impact: they establish the precedents under which group-based grievance politics can both thrive and become institutionalized. And as I’ve pointed out here on many other occasions, there is great danger in any movement away from legal individualism.

The New York Times Answers the Great Unwashed

Forgive me, I know this is pretty elementary stuff — but it's the kind of elementary context that sometimes gets lost in the heat of strong disagreements.
--Bill Keller, New York Times Editor

The above quote is the Time's condescending response to outraged Americans that yet another state secret is given away on their front page. The Great Unwashed, that would be you and me and anyone not living on the Coastess with the Mostess.

Oy vey. They are arrogant and ignorant. Commoners just don't understand and know all the things his eminance understands and knows. How could we? Simple bloggers and citizens and soldiers, not sophisticated and worldly wise and tres important like Mr. Keller. Blech.

Glenn Reynolds gets uncharacteristically exercised.

Austin Bay responds.

Hugh Hewitt breaks it down for the New York Times.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Deploring Bush

William F. Buckley, Jr. discusses Slate's 10th Anniversary and their homage to the President's malappropisms. What fun to make fun! In the end he says:

Weisberg reproduces a few sentences from Bush that establish the claim of verbal clumsiness. But Weisberg won't settle for that. His thesis is that Bush is incompetent to think and speak, and that he elected to settle with that incompetence because of laziness, since thinking consumes intellectual calories.

Now there is a problem here, and Weisberg ignores it. It is that Bush has confronted in public contests nimble opponents. You would not do combat with the waspish Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, if you could help it. Ms. Richards is one of the sharpest tongues in town (it was she who said that the senior Bush was born with a silver foot in his mouth). Bush not only survived the encounter, he defeated the wasp.

George Bush met in public debate Al Gore, an experienced debater, and walked away with immunity, as he would do four years later in his encounters with John Kerry. Weisberg doesn't take on the question of Bush being accepted at Yale, and achieving enough credits to graduate. It requires skills not generally associated with idiocy to maneuver so as to win the nomination of a national political party, and then an election, not once but twice.George Bush met in public debate Al Gore, an experienced debater, and walked away with immunity, as he would do four years later in his encounters with John Kerry. Weisberg doesn't take on the question of Bush being accepted at Yale, and achieving enough credits to graduate. It requires skills not generally associated with idiocy to maneuver so as to win the nomination of a national political party, and then an election, not once but twice. Weisberg doesn't take on the question of Bush being accepted at Yale, and achieving enough credits to graduate. It requires skills not generally associated with idiocy to maneuver so as to win the nomination of a national political party, and then an election, not once but twice.

Mr. Weisberg's premise -- that to do this does not require intelligence, thoughtful planning and marginal lucidity -- has one wondering, but not about deficiencies in Bush. There manifestly aren't such in Weisberg in the matter of articulateness, so you find yourself playing with the derivations of it all: (1) You can't be stupid and become president; (2) You can be articulate and be stupid.

"You can be articulate and be stupid."

Muslims Losing Confidence in Bin Laden

Even optimism-challenged Andrew Sullivan is encouraged.

Off Base

Peggy Noonan believes that neither political party in Washington likes their base. The Republicans think their base is "a bore" and the Democrats believe their base is "barking mad." Noonan doesn't say so, but seems to imply that the Republicans should respect their base more and the Democrats demonstrate balance by ignoring/running away from their base.

I'm wondering, how will either party be elected by such a disaffected electorate? Will all the protests of the base end up like this: Conservatives and Moderates end up voting for a Republican because any Democrat who is electable must say and do absolutely insane things to get the nomination? Those inevitable crazy rantings scare off anyone considering going Democrat even being disaffected and sick of contemptuous treatment by Republican leadership.

Rational voters are stuck between Dumb and Dumber.

Social Isolation

Scroll Down for Updates:

My last post on this article by Shankar Vendantem in the Washington Post online was rather cheeky. I wanted to get the article out there for you to read because it seems timely. We've all heard the saying "it's lonely at the top". Well, it can be lonely in the middle and bottom, too.

Here's what the article says (bolded emphasis mine):

Americans are far more socially isolated today than they were two decades ago, and a sharply growing number of people say they have no one in whom they can confide, according to a comprehensive new evaluation of the decline of social ties in the United States.

A quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal troubles, more than double the number who were similarly isolated in 1985. Overall, the number of people Americans have in their closest circle of confidants has dropped from around three to about two.

The comprehensive new study paints a sobering picture of an increasingly fragmented America, where intimate social ties -- once seen as an integral part of daily life and associated with a host of psychological and civic benefits -- are shrinking or nonexistent. In bad times, far more people appear to suffer alone.

"That image of people on roofs after Katrina resonates with me, because those people did not know someone with a car," said Lynn Smith-Lovin, a Duke University sociologist who helped conduct the study. "There really is less of a safety net of close friends and confidants."

If close social relationships support people in the same way that beams hold up buildings, more and more Americans appear to be dependent on a single beam.

Compared with 1985, nearly 50 percent more people in 2004 reported that their spouse is the only person they can confide in. But if people face trouble in that relationship, or if a spouse falls sick, that means these people have no one to turn to for help, Smith-Lovin said.

"We know these close ties are what people depend on in bad times," she said. "We're not saying people are completely isolated. They may have 600 friends on [a popular networking Web site] and e-mail 25 people a day, but they are not discussing matters that are personally important."

The new research is based on a high-quality random survey of nearly 1,500 Americans. Telephone surveys miss people who are not home, but the General Social Survey, funded by the National Science Foundation, has a high response rate and conducts detailed face-to-face interviews, in which respondents are pressed to confirm they mean what they say.

Whereas nearly three-quarters of people in 1985 reported they had a friend in whom they could confide, only half in 2004 said they could count on such support. The number of people who said they counted a neighbor as a confidant dropped by more than half, from about 19 percent to about 8 percent.

The results, being published today in the American Sociological Review, took researchers by surprise because they had not expected to see such a steep decline in close social ties.

Smith-Lovin said increased professional responsibilities, including working two or more jobs to make ends meet, and long commutes leave many people too exhausted to seek social -- as well as family -- connections: "Maybe sitting around watching 'Desperate Housewives' . . . is what counts for family interaction."

Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard and the author of "Bowling Alone," a book about increasing social isolation in the United States, said the new study supports what he has been saying for years to skeptical audiences in the academy.

"For most of the 20th century, Americans were becoming more connected with family and friends, and there was more giving of blood and money, and all of those trend lines turn sharply in the middle '60s and have gone in the other direction ever since," he said.

Americans go on 60 percent fewer picnics today and families eat dinner together 40 percent less often compared with 1965, he said. They are less likely to meet at clubs or go bowling in groups. Putnam has estimated that every 10-minute increase in commutes makes it 10 percent less likely that people will establish and maintain close social ties.Television is a big part of the problem, he contends. Whereas 5 percent of U.S. households in 1950 owned television sets, 95 percent did a decade later.

But University of Toronto sociologist Barry Wellman questioned whether the study's focus on intimate ties means that social ties in general are fraying. He said people's overall ties are actually growing, compared with previous decades, thanks in part to the Internet. Wellman has calculated that the average person today has about 250 ties with friends and relatives.

Wellman praised the quality of the new study and said its results are surprising, but he said it does not address how core ties change in the context of other relationships."I don't see this as the end of the world but part of a larger puzzle," he said. "My guess is people only have so much energy, and right now they are switching around a number of networks. . . . We are getting a division of labor in relationships. Some people give emotional aid, some people give financial aid."Putnam and Smith-Lovin said Americans may be well advised to consciously build more relationships. But they also said social institutions and social-policy makers need to pay more attention.

"The current structure of workplace regulations assumes everyone works from 9 to 5, five days a week," Putnam said. "If we gave people much more flexibility in their work life, they would use that time to spend more time with their aging mom or best friend."

There seem to be a few causes of isolation: 1) simple lack of social skills 2) don't want to take the time 3) distrustful; fear of being betrayed 4) enjoy being alone. There are probably more.

Our local paper wrote recently about the decline in (totally awesome) public pool use. National statistics show that people aren't going to theatres like they have in the past. A 10% decline seems significant to me. And it isn't just because movies stink. In addition, in Houston anyway, people are eating out a lot more.

Part of the turning inward may just be wealth. People can swim in their own clean pool, watch a movie in their own media room with fresh popcorn and at a fraction of the price. It doesn't take much dough to add up to a nice projector when taking the family out to dinner and a movie approaches $200. Pools cost significantly more, of course, but they can be used more often, too.

So, families who are double-income or single-income but dad or mom is mega busy, prefer to stay home to relax. They're not home much. They prefer to not have to shop and cook after a long week and hit a restaurant on the fly. But these choices comes at a price--less social interaction.

If people don't belong to a church. If they aren't part of a service organization. If their only social interaction consists of extended family obligations. If they watch TV, blog (ahem), enjoy movies, swim in the backyard, or just stay home when they aren't working 60 hour weeks, when, pray tell, will they make friends and how will they keep the friendships they already have?

Dr. Helen wonders:
Is this study even correct--do people really stay away from others because they are so exhausted from work and long commutes, or is Desperate Housewives just more entertaining than exchanging verbal pleasantries with the neighbors?
I would like to think the answer is no. But in this day and age, people probably prefer pretend flawed people to real flawed people. Like a dog, the TV requires no investnment besides sitting on your ass. Actually, a dog requires more--you should at least give the pooch a pat every once in a while, but even that is too much effort even though the rewards are ten-fold for your health and humanity.

NYT Paranoia Passes as Logic

National Security be damned.

The truth the Times evades is that while every power, public or private, can be misused, the mere possibility of abuse does not mean that a necessary power should be discarded. Instead, the rational response is to create checks that minimize the risk of abuse. Under the Time's otherworldly logic, the United States might be better off with no government at all, because governmental power can be abused. It should not have newspapers, because the power of the press can be abused to harm the national interest (as the Times so amply demonstrates). Police forces should be disbanded, because police officers can overstep their authority. National security wiretaps? Heavens! Expose all of them
This one is worth your time.

Strategy Page Deconstructs the War Environment

Here are the salient points quoted in their entirety (points and emphasis added by me for readers ease):

  1. Because the war on terror is fought in a peacetime atmosphere, treason can be presented as dissent, and you can get away with it. Case in point is the energetic pursuit, and publication, of U.S. intelligence gathering techniques, by the American media.
  2. The unique nature of the war on terror, with much of the action being on the domestic front, has us searching for terrorists among our own population. This leads to opposition groups depicting success against the terrorists (no attacks) as the absence of a real threat.
  3. Trivializing the enemy is another dangerous journalistic tactic. Many of the Islamic terrorists are basically amateurs. The bunch rounded up in Miami recently are starting to be portrayed as victims, rather than threats. However, if one or two FBI supervisors had zigged instead of zagged back in early 2001, and the 19 or 20 911 terrorists would have been rounded up.
  4. This influences future reporting, which [the MSM] will tend to avoid connecting the dots between these revelations and the success of some future terror attack. A sort of unconscious professional courtesy.
  5. There is one new element; net based journalists. That includes widely read bloggers and reports like this. But that only keeps the crimes visible, it doesn't do much to punish the guilty, or stop the assistance these traitors are giving to those who would kill them, and us.
The conclusion:

Unless their activities are shown to assist terrorists in a particularly direct and obvious way, scary stories about potential perils will continue to protect those attacking the counter-terrorism effort. By blurring the line between legitimate dissent and active assistance to the enemy, political opportunism has sunk to new lows.

New York Times: Motivation

Austin Bay says this:

A lot of what passes for reporting and analysis in Washington and New York is merely passing on government and academic gossip. That’s why the leap to leaks is but a nudge and a puddle jump. The government officials and employees participate; some of them are legitimate whistle blowers, but folks, those are rare and when they occur they are Pulitzer material. Most of the game is simply incestuous Beltway conversation and the rapacious media demand for a “headline.”

But some headlines hurt– they damage our government’s Job One: national security. Perhaps the Times’ editors don’t believe we are engaged in a global counter-terror war against Islamo-fascism. We are. At one time there was hole in south Manhattan they could not ignore. Five years on we have accomplished much –I suspect the heaviest lifting has been done (and I’ll be writing more about that later this summer). For America’s economic and media elites the war has been easy. As I’ve written time and again the Bush Administration’s greatest failure was to tap the American public’s post-9/11reservoir of willingness; however, just enough of the American public stepped forward. Since 9/11 American economic performance has been admirable (a comment I have not seen on the Times front page, but it is true). The US military has served with great distinction, despite major media attempts to “My Lai” Abu Ghraib and now Haditha. Moral compromise in war is inevitable; compromising legitimate intellgence operations is not. History may well conclude this is a war that didn’t need America’s media elites, and perhaps that suspicion curdles the gut of a couple of New York Times bigshots. [emphasis added, -ed.]

Mr. Bay hits the dagger right on the heart of the matter, to mix my metaphors, doesn't he?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Letter From A Soldier to the New York Times

Read it. Want to know why the New York Times revealing State secrets costs lives? The soldier writing the letter will tell you.

You know, it occurs to me that the New York Times editorial staff are ultimately the Republican's best friends. Everyone on God's green globe knows that they lean liberal and work as the Left's mouthpiece. No one trusts Democrats on security (let's see, our choices are Murtha, Kerry, Kennedy, Pelosi, Clinton, arghhhhh!) . The Times just reminds people over and over and over again why they really, really can't be trusted--we know a conservative loyal to the country isn't spewing the secrets. They would sell America's soul (and have) for a buck, for fame, for an award, for convenience and for hatred of the President.

H/T: Glenn Reynolds aka Instapundit


In the spirit of recent posts, I thought you all might like to see what it would look like if a huge meteor hit the earth.

H/T Boing Boing

New York Times: Loose Lips

Michelle Malkin posts some of the best Photo Shopped posters regarding the New York Times "loose lipped" foreign policy (since they are the foreign policy drivers, not the President).

I'm still wondering who the government leaker is. This treasonous scumbag must be rooted out and prosecuted. It comes down to this: some people believe that we're not at war. Some people outright sympathize with the enemy and revel in an "underdog" willing to lay it all on the line to destroy the patriarchal oppressor. They transfer their unresolved childhood trauma on to any strong authority figure and rebel. Their contrariness, their guilt and shame turn into justification for all sorts of childish acts. It would be bad enough if this "acting out" happened in the confines of their personal relationships. But no, their "acting out" is destructive to themselves, to society and to the framework that would actually protect them.

Want proof? The naked bikers in San Franscisco gave no thought to a child being traumatized by their actions, did they? They believed that their view deserved to be expressed even if it was destructive. The end justified their means. In so doing, they become the very oppressors they so despise. It's called transference.

Desire No Shackle

Dr. Sanity posts some pictures that illustrate the place of women in Islamic societies. Islamic societies are provocatively sexual. How can covering a woman from head to toe be sexual? Well, the very purpose of full-body covering is sexual.

A burqa hides a woman's sexuality and in so doing draws attention to women as exclusively sexual beings. A burqa isn't created to hide a woman's mind...although other laws and statutes effectively do that. A burqa is a covering to protect a man from his urges. But repression tends to cause extreme over reactions.

Men in fundamentalist Islamic societies are consumed with sex. Their paradise is an ode to sex. They indulge in polygamy to sate sexual intemperence. Women are subjugated to protect men from their own needs and desires. Go look at the art and see how imbalanced views of sex almost always go hand-in-hand with imbalanced views of freedom and rationalism.

Jews Infiltrating Al Qaeda?

Something like that. And their families believe that everyone is overblowing the threat:

Relatives of seven men arrested over an alleged plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and attack FBI offices have been protesting the group's innocence.

Marlene Phanor, sister of one of the accused, said they have been unfairly dubbed terrorists and that they were victims of US scaremongering.

According to the charges, the men, five from the US and two from Haiti, hoped to wage a "full ground war" on the US.

Of course we're "scaremongering". We should just believe that people don't mean what they say when they say things like they "hoped to wage a 'full ground war' on the US."

H/T Gateway Pundit

Friday, June 23, 2006

End Times, Good Times

The LA Times writes about religious nuts who look forward to Christ's return. Hopefully a really bloody Armageddon will happen, too. That Revelation stuff is the best. Like, it is so totally cool that non-Christians will be blasted off the face of the planet. Christians cannot wait. It'll be better than all the other really cool wars throughout history combined.

Btw, 40% of America falls into the "end times believers" category. Blood-hungry idiots.

People Are Socially Isolated

Me so lonely. I guess I'm not the only one. Suddenly, I don't feel so alone....or lonely. I think my social isolation desolation frustration is cured.

THIS is Torture

Gateway Pundit has a roundup of what happened to our kidnapped soldiers. Since many of you won't go to the link I'll list it:

  • Ears, nose, penis cut off while alive.
  • Eyes gouged out.
  • Dragged behind trucks.
  • Mouths stuffed with penises and bodies desecrated after death.
  • Beheaded.
  • Bodies booby-trapped so that other soldiers would (hopefully) be killed.
  • A string of bombs led to the bodies to make it more difficult to retrieve them.

THAT is torture. This is incomprehensible, subhuman, barbaric behavior. The poor parents of these boys. The poor troops who they fought with.

Their comrades are supposed to maintain the utmost decorum? Our soldiers have to worry about being prosecuted for aggressively hunting down this kind of filth? I hope they find the guys who did this and hang them publicly on TV for all the world to see. I hope they bulldoze their neighborhoods. I hope that every person who aided, fed, protected, encouraged and taught them is hunted down and killed. We need to take some Daisy Cutters into those Bagdhad neighborhoods still loyal to Saddam and level 'em. Just rid the world of their despicable existence.

Saddam Hunger Strikes for Beloved Lawyer

Did you read/watch (here, here and here) the breathless news about former Iraq Dictator going on a hunger strike? Frankly, I was terrified the poor guy might suffer. So it was with great relief that I read this news. Sounds like his digestive respite lasted no longer than one repast. Can we please hang him already and get it OVER WITH? My tax dollars go to pay (scratch that, eat, I meant eat) that murderous scumbag. BAH!

Red vs. Blue Ball States

WARNING: To my delicate and faint of heart readers whose last look at diseased genitalia still has them gasping for air/praying to the porcelain god please note: These photos are worse. No diseases displayed, unless you believe turtles are diseases...... But I digress. You have been warned.

Anyone who believes that there isn't really a great crack in this country needs only to look at these pictures. Absolute eye openers. The real divide? Everyone knows that Red Staters are better hung.

H/T: My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

Ode to Australia

By Charles Krauthammer. Please read it. Australians are a hard scrabble bunch and great fun. New Zealanders are also fantastic people. One of my very best friends was from there. So beautiful and natural and smart and independent and funny and real and very loyal. Kinda like Australia.

H/T Instapundit

Andrew Sullivan & Name Calling: You're A Christianist and I'm Not

Nah, nah, ne, nah, nah!

For those whose religion is moral relativism (also known as the Religion of My Way is Best and Your Way is of the Devil also known as Biblicus Choosicus), Bishop Sullivan's bloviating makes perfect sense.

By the way, the above link is a very funny read. Not at all the same hum drum strum by One Note Andrew.

New York Times Tips Killers

Imagine if the NYTs tipped the Mafia about an investigation tracking money transfers they make. The Mafia bosses recognize some interesting patterns attached to some interesting people associated with their money transfers and said people become part of a future building project, i.e. the foundation to new sky scraper.

Now, imagine if the NYT tipped Terrorists about an investigation tracking money transfers. Imagine covert American and foreign agents associated with those money transactions have their cover blown. Imagine the Terrorists redirecting their money laundering after murdering said agents. Imagine that this act was done while soldiers, whose lives depend on secret means to catch terrorists, fought in a declared war.

What would a just response to the tipster be? A Pulitzer Prize? Yeah! That's what I thought, too.

More at Dr. Sanity.


Jeff Goldstein says this:

I wonder if the crew at “Townhouse” is busy cobbling together a new civil liberties OUTRAGE narrative in order to distract us from the real violation of trust here—namely, that leakers within our intelligence agencies are jeopardizing national security, and that both the leakers and those publishing the leaks (whose aim, clearly, is to gin up whatever outrage they can with the hope of undermining this Administration’s tactics for conducting a war they don’t believe truly exists), are doing so with impunity. After all, Townhouse has, evidently, secured the services of maverick “conservative-civil libertarian” Glenn Greenwald.

That aside, though, what is most ironic about these leak stories is that dubious decision-making by today’s “adversarial” media will doubtless create a climate in which it is far more likely that future administrations will take extraordinary measures to keep information secret. All because some in the press have forgotten that with access and freedom comes great responsibility. That the NYT is willing to trade that responsibility for a “scoop” it pretends is in the “public interest” is, frankly, embarrassing—and one of the reasons Americans are increasingly unhappy with the mainstream press.

And in the long-run, we could find ourselves less informed because of it. Which is a net negative for a truly free society.

Andrea Yate's Husband: Why Does He Bother Me So?

Recently remarried former husband to child killer Andrea Yates bothers me. No, he didn't drown his children. She did it. She is responsible. She is a grown woman. And she is being tried, again, for the murder of five kids--her own. Their lives are snuffed out before they really had begun because a woman too proud or too mad to ask for help chose a permanent, violent solution to the problem of her burden. And yes, I'm aware that if a man committed this heinous crime (except if he was a combat vet) he would not be the subject (probably) of a post like this. But there is a reason for that.

Russell "Rusty" Yates subscribed to a weird version of Christian Fundamentalism and introduced his wife to these misguided beliefs. For most Americans, the views espoused in these dark corners of Christianity are so far outside the mainstream that when they are discussed even in oblique ways (wouldn't want to judge a weird religious belief since all religions except Islam are weird to secular journalists) by the press people simply don't or can't believe that such nonsense exists in these modern times. It does exist. I grew up in a milder version of one of these weird belief systems delightedly embraced by a father all too keeen to follow the self-serving, Bible-contorting tenets. Here are some sample foundational "truths":

  1. God's government is top-down. The authority chain goes like this: God to Jesus to Church/Spiritual Advisor to Man to Woman/Children. This notion is not an explicit teaching--it's implicit in the form and function of the church/sect/cult. Leaders are appointed by other leaders who deem the follower to be worthy. Democracy is impugned as a lesser form of government--the best that men can do--and shunned as a decision-making mechanism for the church. This serves a few purposes: 1) Arcane doctrines can never be challenged by a group 2) Total control rests in the hands of a few "select" men 3) Sweeping decisions can be made without the consent of the body of the group 4) Leaders can spend money any way they please--namely to pay themselves, a lot. A less silo-ish version, and more Bible-based one would emphasize a personal relationship with Jesus. Woman to Jesus. Man to Jesus. Heirarchy wouldn't be emphasized so much by moderate, judged "liberal or back-sliding", especially considering Jesus' indictment of the Pharisees who delighted in pecking order and the Romans whose system was entirely organizational. In fact great pride was invested in the Roman organization itself--the ideas were secondary. The problem with the heirarchial church structure is that personal responsibility is absolved in the mind of the adherent. If a believer follows the rules (usually set down by an "inspired" MALE leader interestingly enough) exactly as laid out by the powers that be, salvation is almost guaranteed. It can be undone however with slight infractions and miscellaneous sins to be determined by the aforementioned power.
  2. Women must submit. Almost every modern social ill is a woman's fault because she is insufficiently submissive and it started with that tramp Eve. Multiple sermons dedicated to Eve's disobedience to Adam, rhetorically asking "what if Eve had been with her husband instead of going off on her own when the Snake deceived her?" qualifies as "truth". The Surrendered Wife is wildly popular right now among some Christian women. They read the tales of one control-freak woman,who is now a one-woman industry and where is that husband of hers anyway?), and believe that their marital problems are because they are controlling shrews just needing to be tamed. Another booklet I read, and can't remember the title right now, goes one step further than abstaining from criticism and generally bugging the crap out of your husband. The key to marriage and salvation, is to do exactly what your man wants all the time. On judgement day, a woman will be weighed in the balance on one standard alone: how well did she submit to her husband? Hubby wants you to commit murder? Submit. HE must answer for that on judgement day. You will be absolved because you obeyed your worldly master. Husband wants a threesome with his toothsome assistant? Submit. You must answer for your lackluster or less than enthusiastic peformance in trying to please your husband. He must answer for anything wrong he might have asked you to do. I kid you not. Any degrading, even illegal, act your husband wants you to perform is your job to submit and do it.
  3. A Woman's Sole/Only Purpose is Childbearing. A good Christian woman these days doesn't just submit to her husband, and men in general, she gives her body to right all societal wrongs and births a boatload of babies. A current fad in some Christian circles, a book called The Full Quiver, waxes elephant about the gift of children and that true Christians allow God to "bless" them as many times as He wishes. Like all crazy ideas that seem to "ring true" (like Marxism at first blush) baby making women and the husbands who impregnate them are not just having babies, they are righting societal wrongs. Society generally doesn't seem to appreciate children all that much (true) and on the other hand indulges them (also true). The solution then is to show that children are blessings by having twenty of 'em who won't be selfish little twits because they'll have to share everything. Society denigrates motherhood (true) and believes big families reveal patriarchal oppression so Christian families must show the blessing of motherhood and be matriarchal--having lots of kids does that.
  4. A Christian's citizenship is above so this sinful, evil world doesn't matter. Worldly possessions? Sinful. A Christian values the spiritual over the physical. Modern amenities like the Internet, dishwashers and a housekeeper? Sinful. A Christian keeps his or her mind pure, washes dishes herself and is a good Proverbs 31 woman and knows her way around a mop. A lot. Since this world is entirely evil, the best one can do is survive until death when peace from Allah, I mean, Jesus comes. Christians (unlike Christ) don't associate with sinners. They separate themselves even if it means leaving friends and family in the dust, and eventually, the eternal lake of fire Hades. A good Christian lives for Heaven. Trying to make a living or allowing children to be polluted (thus the need for home schooling) is to sully sanctification. By most people's standards, the world is filled with crime, sin and the side effects of the above. But again, a big leap is made into a hemetically sealed life where "the world" is out there and pureness is "in here".
Some of the ideas espoused by the likes of Russel Yates and his "spiritual advisor" are just plain false, the more insidious ones take a kernal of truth, take a kernal of common sense and leap to false and nonsensical conclusions. Non-Sequitors rule their exegesis. But the bottom line of the belief system goes like this: World bad. Only some Christians with special knowledge good. Men rule. Women submit. Have babies. Stay removed from world's decay.

This insular filled with impossible standards (for women) breeds paranoia and delusion. An agrarian, less-isolated society where women worked alongside women raising children, cooking and cleaning would support the Andrea Yates' of the world. The nuclear family does not have the extended support necessary to fulfill these pie-in-the-sky pseudo-Christian ideals.

Some women, alone at home with five children under the age of 10 who is homeschooling, thrive in these circumstances. They feel made for motherhood. They love the sense of accomplishment of a clean house (one of my close women friends enthused about keeping her house clean, "I LOVE housecleaning!"). More power to them. There are lots of great families around here with four, five, even more children being homeschooled by perfectly rational, totally with-it women. None I know are starry-eyed about the commitment though. They work hard. They are tired. They recognize their life choice is not for everyone.

Other women and the men that encourage them, believe that anything less than this choice is un-Christian. They believe that God will judge them harshly for not embracing their God-given mandate. Lot's of unevolved Christian men exploit this belief system. They wouldn't lower themselves to help with the kids. They wouldn't make a meal. They wouldn't hire a housekeeper. That's a woman's work. A woman has sex when and how he demands. A woman submits if her husband wants more children even when she feels she can't do it--"God will provide". A woman will be able to handle everything if she "just has enough faith."

Some people wonder why Rusty Yates isn't harder on his wife for killing his five beautiful children. Why, indeed. Has he suddenly repented of that worldview--one where he will answer to God for the decisions of his wife? He would argue that he never asked her to kill his kids. She was unsubmissive about that decision, evidently. But he knows all the other decisions, decisions he coerced, implied or outright demanded she submit to.

Andrea Yates faced a tremendous double-bind within her belief system. Her mounting desperation, depression, anxiety and psychosis demonstrated a lack of faith in God. Her resentment toward an omnipotent yet lazy husband demonstrated her ungodly lack of submission to God's divine order. Her inability to perfectly fulfill Proverbs 31 demonstrated how worldly she still was. Her anger at her lot in life reveal an attitude still shaped by society.

This belief system tasked the man with seeing to the needs of his wife. It was his job as the authority in his house to decide when and how and what his woman needed. Rusty knows this. His insistance that she was "a good woman" and should be viewed not as a criminal but as someone with a sickness reveals this worldview. He doesn't seemed shocked or disgusted or outraged or infuriated or appalled. By the only standards that matter, "she was a good wife". She submitted. What more could a man ask for?

Andrea Yates fulfilled her responsibilities as wife. According to this worldview, the one who failed is Russell Yates. Patently obvious statements like, "I wasn't the one who killed the kids" isn't so obvious through the lens of man in charge, woman is mindless robot fulfilling the will of the husband.

This whole dynamic is uncomfortable for a lot of reasons. The Yate's relationship and warped "Christianity" point the spotlight at a lot of crazy "Christian" happenings in the name of God. I don't blame God, Jesus, the Bible for what the decisions Andrea Yates made. I blame first, Andrea. She isn't stupid. In fact, she's really smart, an overachiever who did what she did "with all her might" (Ecclesiastes). She bought into a belief system that I call check-list Christianity. Her husband was the chief beneficiary in this system. He didn't mind that his children might be in harms way--they were to submit to their mother. That's the way God made it.

In this warped world, Christ's service to others first, his notion of first will be last, his love and kindness extended to women and children and beggers and the diseased (who were all lumped in the "less than" category, thank you very much) and his miraculous healings and compassion are ignored in favor of a harsh, angry, totalitarian, unforgiving, unmerciful, malevolent God.

Like the terrorists, those who espouse these beliefs twist God's teachings and misapply them to their own nefarious ends and claim God's authority to do them. When the fruits of these beliefs are murder, rape, and madness, they either excuse it, defend it or ignore it. Kind of like Russell Yates does for hi ex-wife.

He is not absolved of his part in Andrea Yate's mad murders. His convenient belief system created a fertile environment for this crime to happen. No one should be shocked, and he doesn't seem to be, that it did.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Imagine: No America

Remember the Beatles song Imagine? Well, Dr. Sanity adds another verse: imagine there's no America. Do Democrats really believe "What a Wonderful World It Would Be?"

Terror Raid in Miami

I thought that the bad guys had given up. I thought they would just stop if we were nice. Well, since America hasn't been nice, we'll never know, huh?

Read more at Hot Air.

H/T Stop the ACLU

Globe Warmest Since 400 Years Ago

400 Years ago, GM manufactured these super-sized four-wheelers that indiginous peoples in the Americas used to traverse uncleared terrain. They burned copious amounts of fossil fuels and we're large enough in size that a family of 40 could sleep comfortably--safe from ravenous black bears.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Volvo built huge refineries to support Nordic conquests. In Japan, Isuzu built air-conditioned rockets and China built whatever the rest of the world couldn't in automated factories that consumed billions of tons of cow dung and emitted sulfurous belches that shook the earth off its axis.

It's true. I swear. In a former life, 400 years ago, I was environmental scientist and warned those Middle Aged jerks about how their nefarious actions heated the atmosphere and doomed all mankind forever and ever and ever. And ever.

The Anchoress has more.

Confirmation Bias

This article over at Shrinkwrapped is the best, clearest explanation of confirmation bias using real-world examples that I have ever read.

We all suffer from confirmation bias. That is, we all look for evidence to support our views. We all tend to discount evidence that would undermine our views. The truly honest, and I would add, more highly evolved person recognizes his or her biases when evaluating information.

Many people, however, like to imagine that they have no biases. It reminds me of people saying, "Ah don't have an southurn accent", "Ah don't have an accent t'all". Right. Surrre ya don't. And I don't possess a Midwestern accent. I don't. My language usage is absolutely neutral.

"Condoms May Prevent Cervical Cancer", Then Again, They May Not

So says the headline. Condoms no more prevent Cervical Cancer than they do Pregnancy. Condoms greatly reduce the risk of both. Nothing, save celibacy, prevents either of the above.

Cervical Cancer and the most prevalent form of infertility are both caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a sexually transmissable disease. HPV infection risk greatly rises the more sexual partners a woman has.

Condoms of course would reduce the risk of this nasty infection (and it is NASTY, you are warned, VERY NASTY--look at these pictures here and here). But here's the rub, if you'll pardon the pun, the people indulging in multiple partner sex, who engage in risky sexual behaviors, are not inclined to want to use or force their partners to use a condom. They have low self esteem. They have low regard for their own safety, health and life. They extend this hopeless worldview to their partners and don't particularly consider the ramifications of their actions--children, disease, eventual cancer, infertility or even death--to others either.

See? All the research in the world can't change a human heart or human behavior. A person must decide that they are worth something to make a self protective decision.

Here is how Daniel DeNoon presents the research though:

Forget what you've heard. Condoms do protect women against cancercancer- and wart-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, according to a new study. [emphasis added, -ed.]

HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancercervical cancer.

Although it is a sexually transmitted infection, you can get HPV even in sex without penetration, such as with skin-to-skin contact. Hence, there's been a lot of doubt as to whether condoms -- even when used perfectly -- can protect against HPV.

Doubters still can point to the fact that condoms don't offer perfect protection. But they now have to admit they help. [emphasis added, -ed.]

Women whose male sex partners use condoms consistently -- and correctly -- cut their risk of HPV infection by 70%, according to the study by University of Washington researchers Rachel L. Winer, PhD, and colleagues. [emphasis added, -ed.]

Mr. DeNoon says, "Forget what you heard-- condoms do protect women against cancer" but he then goes on to quote the researchers who say "Women whose male sex partners use condoms consistently--and correctly--cut their risk of HPV infection by 70%".

Forget what I've heard? What have I heard? HPV is extremely contagious and even condoms don't completely prevent infections. Is that so different from what the researchers say? And who are these "doubters" and why the contemptuous tone? Wait a minute. Are you angry because some people believe and put forth the notion of abstinance or monogomy? Does the presence of nasty diseases secondary to nasty behavior anger you? Do you despise the fact that certain actions have dire consequences?

Back to the article. Now, the idea of cutting my risk of cancer by 70% is appealing, but reducing my risk by 100% is even more appealling. Stating the absolute obvious, to everyone I suppose except reporters with an ax to grind like Mr. DeNoon, the researchers go on to state:
"Persons who choose to be sexually active can be reassured that condom use can reduce the risk of most sexually transmitted diseases," Steiner and Cates write. "Persons who abstain from sexual intercourse or who are uninfected and mutually monogamous eliminate the risk of sexually transmitted infections."
Mr. DeNoon I guess you'll call me a "doubter." Obviously condoms reduce risk. Big whup. A woman whose infected partner is using a condom consistently and correctly still has a big enough chance to contract HPV to make it risky--just less risky. She has a 30% greater chance of getting HPV than someone who is monomogous with an uninfected partner. Doesn't look so good from that angle, does it? Doesn't look good from any angle. Read this:

Women whose sex partners used condoms less than 5% of the time had an HPV infection rate of 89 infections per 100 patient-years. That is, if 100 of these women were sexually active for one year, 89 of them would have HPV infections. Women who used condoms every time they had sex had an HPV infection rate of 38 infections per 100 patient-years.
And this, my friends, qualifies as "encouraging" news:
However, the researchers find it encouraging that these young women, new to sex, were able to reduce their HPV risk via consistent use of condoms by their male partners.
I don't find it encouraging at all. In fact, I find it depressing and sad. A sexually active young woman is almost guaranteed a sexually transmissable disease that can render her infertile and give her cancer. The infertility epidemic we see today mostly rests on the back of the sexual revolution that makes people slaves to disease and deprived of achieving future dreams. Research like this only enables the delusion of "safe sex". No such thing exists outside of monogomous, disease-free relationships and even then a baby can always be a result in hetero relationships.

This article isn't so much reporting as it is propaganda.