Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Are you excited? I'm not, because I changed to Mac. Laugh at us simpletons all you want, but unless something terrible happens at Apple, I'm not going back. Why not?

I've had my Mac since August. Do you know how many times it has hiccuped? Three. Do you know how many times A DAY my Windows 2000 hiccuped? Three.

Do you know how long it takes to get my Mac going? About a minute.

Do you know how long it takes to get my computer, laptop, and every other Windows-based machine going? Five minutes (and that's being generous.)

Powerful PowerPoint

I'm not being critical, honey, (and you, too, sis), but you need to read this. I know, it sounds smarter when I'm not the one sayin' it.

Iraqi Accountability

This is encouraging news. It's a whole new world in the Middle East. No wonder so many want to destroy it.

Biden Blunders

Did you giggle at Senator Joe Biden's expense yet? I did. It's O-V-E-R before it even started. That man is a motor mouth that is stunning in it's inexhaustibleness. Ha!

Here's the New York Time's take.

But later in the day, with Mr. Biden coming under fire from some black leaders, Mr. Obama issued a statement that approached a condemnation. “I didn’t take Senator Biden’s comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate,” he said. “African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate.”

Or unclean, but whatever.

Glenn Reynolds is funnier:

Yep. Calling Obama the first "articulate and bright and clean" black candidate for President is unfair. Say what you will about Al Sharpton, but his personal hygiene appears to be excellent.
Silly, silly Joe Biden.

Making Money Blogging

I haven't been approached by political candidate to blog for him/her. I haven't been given free bling from Microsoft (if you can call their products, blingy). I haven't been approached by a super-agent so enamored with my brilliant prose that she feels compelled to write me a million dollar advance to write the next American self-help book. In short, my blogging has been a high-satisfaction, low-value-added enterprise.

Until now.

For the first time in my year of blogging, I received a check from Amazon Associates--for $31.26. It is a quarterly check and my take is roughly 5% of their haul. So that means readers bought roughly $600 worth of merchandise through my website. That sounds like a lot right?

Let's break it down:

  • That's $150.00/month.
  • That's approximately $35.o0/week.
  • That's approximately $5.00/day.
  • That's approximately $1.50/hour of work (that's being generous).
  • But wait! I only receive 5% of that $1.50. So I make approximately 7 cents an hour.
No wonder I have self-esteem issues. Click through, people! Buy, buy, buy!! As always, you can make a direct donation, too. I know, shameless.

Iran Involved in Karbala Attack, Iran is Fighting U.S. in Iraq--UPDATE

UPDATE: Amir Taheri of the New York Post says Iran's back is against the wall. Hmmmm..... I'm not so sure about that, but the crude oil price drop has caused a serious economic crunch. Taheri asks:

What should the United States and its allies do when, and if, the Khomeinist regime offers a partial retreat?

The temptation to make a deal - as well as the pressure in its favor - would be immense. The Bush administration would face a crucial question: Allow a dangerous but wounded enemy to recover, or go for the kill?

If it is found that Iranian agents have been training Iraqis and killing Americans, there can be no other answer than harsh, unequivocal action against Iran. There should be more economic sanctions. There should be threats tinged with actions. A guided bomb on this mullah, for example. Remember Libya? While these leaders profess death in Allah's name, they seem averse to actually dying themselves.


As soon as I read about the Karbala attack, I thought, "something stinks". We have a traitor in our midst if this report is true, was my next thought. Well, it looks like Iraq has Iran in it's midst. From Captain Ed:

Earlier on Tuesday, Time Magazine reported that Iran has a motive to attack Americans in Iraq. The Revolutionary Guard wants some measure of revenge for the capture of five Iranians in Irbil, at least some of whom belong to the IRGC. Time speculates that the IRGC wanted to send a message, and that the number of casualties were specifically selected to make sure that no one misunderstood it.

What happens if the US concludes that Iran did indeed conduct this mission against American servicemen? It would be an act of war, although the presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers in support of insurgents also qualifies. The Bush administration might be tempted to retaliate with some air strikes, perhaps selected especially for the nuclear program Iran seems keen to pursue at all costs. However, one can imagine the outcry that would cause, not just among our European allies but also leading Democrats in Congress. It would not take long for at least a few of them -- Maurice Hinchey springs to mind -- to accuse the Bush administration of manufacturing the evidence pointing to Iran in order to justify an attack on that nation.

Does this remind anyone of Hezbollah's actions against Israel this summer? Iran is testing their enemies. Like a toddler, with very dangerous weapons, they keep escalating until someone tells them, "NO!" in no uncertain terms. They have yet to be deterred.

More here.

Meanwhile, February 5th is the date that Baghdad will start operations. Is it just me or should military operations be a secret, so, you know, the enemy gets killed? Sheesh. IraqtheModel says this:
We talked earlier about insurgents and terrorists fleeing Baghdad to Diyala, and today there's another report about a similar migration, from al-Sabah:
Eyewitnesses in some volatile areas said that large numbers of militants have fled to Syria to avoid being trapped in the incoming security operations. According to those witnesses, residents and shopkeepers are no longer concerned about militants whose existence in public used to bring on clashes that put the lives of civilians in danger.
Well, that's good. I feel sorry for the outlying cities now. Like I said before, Iraq is like one big game of Donkey Kong.

Pulling the root of the weed is going to involve dealing directly with Iran and Syria. And by dealing directly, I don't mean sitting down for tea to have a chat.

Are Illiberal Jews Anti-Semitic?--UPDATE Palestinian Failure

UPDATE: I note below the differences between Israel and the Palestinians. Siggy has a post so excellent you simply must go read it all. He says this:

An essay written by Carolyn Glick that appeared on the Jerusalem Post opinion page (given her presentation of the facts, it is hard to understand why her piece is opinion), that meshed well with our own post. Ms Glick notes that in the State of Palestine- replete with peace loving Palestinians fighting the dysfunctional Israelis- , a full

...88 percent of the public feels insecure. Perhaps the other 12 percent are members of the multitude of regular and irregular militias. For in the State of Palestine the ratio of police/militiamen/men-under-arms to civilians is higher than in any other country on earth.

In the State of Palestine, two-year-olds are killed and no one cares. Children are woken up in the middle of the night and murdered in front of their parents. Worshipers in mosques are gunned down by terrorists who attend competing mosques. And no one cares. No international human rights groups publish reports calling for an end to the slaughter. No UN body condemns anyone or sends a fact-finding mission to investigate the murders.

In the State of Palestine, women are stripped naked and forced to march in the streets to humiliate their husbands. Ambulances are stopped on the way to hospitals and wounded are shot in cold blood. Terrorists enter operating rooms in hospitals and unplug patients from life-support machines.

In the State of Palestine, people are kidnapped from their homes in broad daylight and in front of the television cameras. This is the case because the kidnappers themselves are cameramen. Indeed, their commanders often run television stations. And because terror commanders run television stations in the State of Palestine, it should not be surprising that they bomb the competition's television stations.

Welcome to the real world of Palestine, where simple racism, bigotry and hate no longer provide enough dysfunction. Whereas once only rabid anti semitism was the only world class achievement in which Palestinian and Arab societies and cultures excelled, it is clear that the Palestinians are now looking for yet another gold medal in dysfunctional behavior.

The Left has coddled this corrupt wretched excuse for humanity. Meanwhile, they condemn Israel? Yes they do. I, for one, am just glad we have a President who sees this degenerate group for who they are--nary a handshake from President Bush. At least that's something to be happy about.


From the New York Times today:

An essay the committee features on its Web site,, titled “ ‘Progressive’ Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism,” says a number of Jews, through their speaking and writing, are feeding a rise in virulent anti-Semitism by questioning whether Israel should even exist.

Some Jews on the Left will insist that their criticism of Israel and Israeli policies are not anti-Semitic and fratricidal. Though not a Jew myself, I'm a person with great affection for all people who stand for freedom and Democracy wherever they live, and to me, much of the Jewish Leftist rhetoric seems anti-Semitic. I guess it's the asymmetrically applied moral strictures, that give it away.

Let's see:
  • Israel is condemned for oppressing Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, while Palestinians are giving a free pass for murdering Israelis.
  • Israel gives away pieces of it's little bit of land and every time, violence by Palestinians increases.
  • Israel obeys the rule of law, Palestinians use terrorism to coerce.
  • Israel allows those who enable murderers to live, while Palestinians have made it absolutely clear that they want Israel destroyed (meaning all the Jews who live there) if they are given the chance.
When I read about Jews who want Israel abolished or the softer, gentler "shared state" solution, I can't help but to wonder what kind of self-loathing pathology has taken hold. It is very easy for an American Jew to opine about final solutions to the Israel problem. It sounds sophisticated and open-minded to be Jew and Israel-critical. It especially wins big points with white supremacists and Iran's mullahs.

Why do Jews espouse extreme anti-Israel views? Do they think it makes them smarter? Do they believe they will be spared hate and/or death? While it is difficult to imagine whole populations intend to kill all Jews, especially after it happened only sixty years ago, the fact is that whole populations do want Jews dead. Israel's existence is not fomenting these genocidal fantasies. Ahmadinejad and much of the radical Islamic world entertain murderous fantasies and they have a land to call their own. It is demented. It is soulless. It is irrational.

It is equally irrational to be Jewish and ignore this existential threat. Worse, it is irrational to believe there is anything rational about Iran's criticism of Israel. And Jews who believe that nearly all the critics aren't motivated by anti-Semitism choose to ignore that truth at their own peril.

Jewish progressives might profess love for Jews and still criticize Israel, those other elites and common people spouting anti-Israel rhetoric? There is no love for Jews in their hearts. They are anti-Semitic. By reinforcing their message, the progressives reinforce nefarious actions (like Iran acquiring nuclear bombs) while revealing their own anti-Semitism.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Personal is Political--"Cutting Our Losses"

I've noticed a trend in my writing tone lately. It's harsh and I don't like it. Sarcasm is a form of anger and I've been angry.

It started with the mid-term elections. You might think that the Republican loss has me peeved, but it really doesn't. In fact, I kind-of expected it and they more than kind-of deserved it, so I became resigned to the situation fairly quickly. In fact, my political perspective has been one of watchful curiosity. The Democrats promised many good things pre-election. I was hopeful that they'd actually follow through. Clean up the culture of corruption? I'm all for that! Demonstrate fiscal restraint? That sounds great, too! More government transparency? It's about dang time! The end of pork? I can't wait! Send troops over to Iraq to "get the job done"? We should have done that from the beginning!

So, you could say, that while I had hoped the Republicans would seize their historic opportunities over the last years that they controlled both the legislative and executive branches of the government, since they didn't and since the Democrats made typically Republican promises, I figured I'd give them a shot. Why not? It was better than sulking.

Are you laughing at me yet? My personality assessments say that I'm a preternatural optimist who can turn to despondency with "a high risk of suicide" when greatly disappointed. Well, my watchful curiosity wasn't all that optimistic, so don't fear for my life. I'm not surprised the Democrats are lying liars as a certain Leftist likes to say, I just hoped they wouldn't be or that they would choose differently this time. Alas, no.

What have I been angry about, if the un-kept promises fail to surprise or even were to be expected? It's a cultural thing, I've decided. My anger is pervasive and aimed at society at large. We are a nation of quitters and it disturbs me to my core. I'll get to this in a minute.

The Democrats are nothing if not beasts of expedience. If they are scurrying around like berated help, it's because the Master Is Not Happy and the Master is the American People. And we, according to focus groups and opinion polls and every other measure the Dems take confirms this notion. To keep Master happy, and more importantly to keep their jobs in the next two years, the Democrats will be craven creatures of cowardice even if that doesn't serve America in the long run. Serving themselves is ultimately their specialty and they are very good at it.

Americans want Iraq over. I've disputed this assertion, myself, saying that just because 60% of Americans are unhappy with the President and the War, doesn't mean they want out now. People like me could want a change in strategy--to become more aggressive and win the thing once and for all. I could be one of the 60% unhappy people, right? Well, this poll indicates that I'm dreaming. Only 35% of Americans think like me. The rest want it over.

I can muse about why this is so:

  • The MSM has succeeded in painting Iraq as a losing proposition. True.
  • The Democrats want Bush to fail more than they want America to win. True.
  • The President hasn't been an effective enough communicator about the rightness of the War on Terror front in Iraq. True.
  • The strategy and rules of engagement in Iraq have hamstrung the military's effort thus making the war look like a stalemate. True.
But none of these reasons explain why Americans would be so willing to leave a populace to their own devices where they face certain extermination. None of these reasons explain how a people who witnessed the horror of Vietnam's abandonment could so easily do the same thing again in Iraq. None of these reasons explain why the messages the MSM, the Democrats send resonate so powerfully.

When did America accept "losing" as a method and message?

As others have rightly noted, the current attitude of Americans, pundits and the Left would have been unthinkable fifty years ago. Losing was simply unacceptable. If America chose a fight, she fought to the death or to victory and often to both.

I think our language is telling. One favorite line "cutting our losses" gets used all the time these days, not just about Iraq. I'll give you a minute. Can you think of how this is used most?

That's right. Divorce.

Not so long ago, divorce equaled shame. It was a moral failure, an acceptance of defeat. Quitting. Look at this chart. See any trends? Here's some explanation. It's both better and worse than it looks.

As the overall divorce rates shot up from the early 1960's through the late 1970's, Dr. Martin found, the divorce rate for women with college degrees and those without moved in lockstep, with graduates consistently having about one-third to one-fourth the divorce rate of nongraduates.

But since 1980, the two groups have taken diverging paths. Women without undergraduate degrees have remained at about the same rate, their risk of divorce or separation within the first 10 years of marriage hovering at around 35 percent. But for college graduates, the divorce rate in the first 10 years of marriage has plummeted to just over 16 percent of those married between 1990 and 1994 from 27 percent of those married between 1975 and 1979.

About 60 percent of all marriages that eventually end in divorce do so within the first 10 years, researchers say. If that continues to hold true, the divorce rate for college graduates who married between 1990 and 1994 would end up at only about 25 percent, compared to well over 50 percent for those without a four-year college degree.

Where is another place in society where people literally "cut their losses"? Imagine a life ruined, a future interrupted permanently, the difficulty of two lives, not just one ruined?


There was a time when abortion was illegal. When a woman and man were forced into "shotgun" commitments and kept them--lest they meet the wrong end of said shotgun. Commitment was sewn into the fabric of society. When contraception and then abortion became a norm, the view of sex, child-bearing and commitment irrevocably changed. Look at this chart. Again, see the trends?

In addition to those who are "cutting their losses" there are those too timid or cynical to even try to commit to begin with. Instead of marriage: cohabitation. This is a euphemism for uncommitted. The New York Times:

The census survey estimated that 5.2 million couples, a little more than 5 percent of households, were unmarried opposite-sex partners. An additional 413,000 households were male couples, and 363,000 were female couples. In all, nearly one in 10 couples were unmarried. (More than one in four households consisted of people living alone).

And the numbers of unmarried couples are growing. Since 2000, those identifying themselves as unmarried opposite-sex couples rose by about 14 percent, male couples by 24 percent and female couples by 12 percent.

A telling statement:
A number of couples interviewed agreed that cohabiting was akin to taking a test drive and, given the scarcity of affordable apartments and homes, also a matter of convenience.
A "test drive" and "convenience" define these relationships.

How much of Americans' politics is driven by the personal? Have Americans "tried out" the War on Terror, found it "inconvenient" and have decided to "cut their losses"? I think so. And why not? When America wed itself to fighting evil, the marriage was "forced".

9/11 struck us, and though we shouldn't have been, we were surprised and shocked. In the emotion, the first blush of the moment, Americans were swept away. Rage and fear and a momentary existential clarity ruled.

The Democrats, always sensitive to the fickle feelings meter, forgot their Bush animus for a moment to fight a common enemy. Almost immediately after, some woke up and like a trapped wolf tried to gnaw their limb free. The War on Terror would be a really great one night stand for most Democrats. Intense, exciting, and definitely feel-good for the moment.

Americans, most anyway, let the relationship take it's course for a while, but when the nasty underbelly of the War inevitably showed itself, they decided that the War should be over. It's complicated. It's difficult. Bad things happen. People make big mistakes. It's sometimes embarrassing when talking to friends--especially sophisticated overseas friends.

And the military feels like a jilted lover. Doing its best. Confused and just wanting love and wondering what it was all for. (via Instapundit)

I do believe the personal is political. I believe that as a country, enough of us have lost our ability to commit and/or have as first instinct to bail when times get tough to cause a societal trend of discomfort with committed military actions. I believe that too many of our people have had it too easy for too long. I believe that Americans think commitment is for suckers. When times get tough, the tough don't get going, they cut their losses.

Getting out is a sign of sophistication, of staying "true to self", of some idealistic pursuit of perfection. Divorce, abortion, living together leave empty souls, disenchantment and disillusionment, but in an attempt to justify the carnage that these choices cost, people dress the failure up in platitudes. My life is so much better now. Lives have been saved. Imagine how bad it would be if we'd have stayed together? We were so unhappy. There just wasn't any love anymore. We're happier now.

"Getting out was hard, but it was the right thing to do." If you tell yourself a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. The Western world is awash in regret and denial and delusion.

Cutting our losses in Iraq will be just be the latest example of the political reflecting the personal. It will cause great harm, not only to Iraq, but to the very soul of our nation. Americans, so used to rationalizing their personal failures, will deny and delude themselves about their political failures. And American, like her families, will be in worse shape than before.

And that's why I'm angry. Well, writing about it helps. And it is comforting to know that there is a Master of all and even the hubris of the American populace can't stand in the way of His grand plan. So I'm letting this go. I'll try to adopt a kinder tone, too.

Scariest Scientific Ideas

In Popular Science. The scariest to me? Reanimating the Spanish Flu. Insane.

Via Conservative Grapevine

Duke Rape: The Real Losers

Beyond the three young accused, there is a whole community of losers in this thing. Thomas Sowell spells it out:

The biggest losers from getting sucked into these frauds are blacks, especially young blacks who go off on an emotional tangent that leads nowhere, at a time when there are so many opportunities in other directions, if they will direct their time and efforts in those directions through education and other serious interests.

The current self-destructive misdirection of energies in black ghettoes cannot be explained by a "legacy of slavery" or "racism." For one thing, this level of self-destruction in black communities did not exist half a century ago, when racism was worse and the black population was generations closer to the era of slavery.

What the two self-destructive communities on opposite sides of the Atlantic have in common is hearing a steady diet of propaganda blaming all their problems on others, and depicting "society" as determined to keep them down, regardless of anything they might do to try to lift themselves up.

That same deadly message has produced the same tragic results among very different people. The Duke "rape" fraud is yet another sign that the time is long overdue for all of us to start thinking.

Being a perpetual victim is the most helpless, hopeless position. If it is someone else's fault, how are you able to respond? Black leaders (and feminists) and the Left in general keep their own constituencies externalizing blame and waiting for a savior, when the answer is within.

Doctor Talk

The New York Times Jane Brody writes today about "health literacy". Most people are health illiterate and leave their doctor's office with more questions than answers.

National studies have found that “health literacy” is remarkably low, with more than 90 million Americans unable to adequately understand basic health information. The studies show that this obstacle “affects people of all ages, races, income and education levels,” Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the United States surgeon general, wrote in the August issue of The Journal of General Internal Medicine, which was devoted to health literacy.

The fallout is anything but trivial. Researchers have found that poor health literacy, which is especially prevalent among the elderly, results in poor adherence to prescription instructions, infrequent use of preventive medical services, increased hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room and worse control of chronic diseases.

The consequences are poorer health and greater medical costs. All because doctors fail to speak to patients in plain English (or Spanish or Chinese or any other language) and fail to make sure that patients understand what they are told and what they are supposed to do and why.

This is a major problem. In our office, one solution is a monthly health night conducted at the local library. It is free and patients are welcome to bring friends and family. People may ask any question--we don't necessarily have all the answers but we can help patients get them. The atmosphere is relaxed and conversational. It actually saves in-office time, because more than one person is being educated and patients know they have a forum to bring up questions if they don't "get it" the first time.

But what if your doctor doesn't conduct an information night? What can a patient do to help themselves? Here are some tips:
  1. Bring a friend/family member to the appointment. This is especially important if you fear what the doctor is going to say. Is this a potential cancer/diabetes/heart disease/stroke/Alzheimer's, etc. conversation? You need someone with you. First, under stress, you won't hear all the information. Your friend will. Second, you need someone to drive you home, while you process the information. And make sure the companion takes notes. This person might have questions you won't think of, when you're on the spot.
  2. Ask clarifying questions. Most people won't ask, "what does 'hematoma' mean?" They're too afraid to look stupid. By the time they get home they've forgotten the word and can't look it up on the internet and they can't call the doctor because they'll look doubly stupid--they don't know the word and they don't know what it means. But if they ask, they'll know the answer. Is this scary bad or just a little bad? And if the patient doesn't know the problem, how can they know how to interpret the solution? It is imperative that the patient ask lots of questions. (By the way, hematoma is just a dressed up word for bruise, but it can have serious implications depending on where it is in the body.)
  3. Ask again. I remember when my son was in the NICU and the nurses gave me information about all the monitors and medications. At that point, I was still numb and in la-la land from just giving birth to 24 week, premature babies. About three days later, I started coming to and asked them to repeat everything they told me before, except slowly this time. They happily did just that. Even with fresh medical training, I just couldn't process during the stress. Any doctor will tell you that it's a whole different bunch of bananas when you're the patient. Sometimes knowledge can inhibit even doctors from asking--they, of all people, don't want to be viewed as stupid. Here's the thing though, the medical field is changing so fast, with so many specialties, that no one doctor can stay on top of it all. So doctors ask questions, too.
  4. Ask these questions:
    1. Are there alternatives to this treatment?
    2. How often do you perform this procedure? When my husband got cancer and his doctor told him that he "saw this about once a year", guess what? We found a doctor who saw this every day. You want an expert.
    3. What if I don't take this medication/do this procedure? Sometimes not doing anything has an almost equal success rate. You need to know that. Sometimes not doing anything is deadly. You need to know that, too.
    4. Would you do this treatment?
    5. How long will I have to take this medication? If the answer is "forever", go to question #1.
    6. How does this medicine interact with these (your other meds)? He might not know. To follow up, ask the pharmacist.
  5. Tape-record the conversation. If that freaks the doc out, just say, "I'm afraid I'll forget what you say and I know it's important."
The article goes on to give doctors advice about how to communicate with patients, but don't count on doctors doing it. Your health is most important to YOU and no one has to live with the consequences but you. Don't be a human New Orleans, waiting for someone to rescue you from your health.

Take charge. Communicate. It could be a matter of life or death.

Stopping Up Stink Holes South & North of the Border

Captain Ed:

In a war on terrorism in which we have already suffered thousands of deaths from infiltrators into the US, one might think that border security might take a leading position among issues faced the federal government. However, the Los Angeles Times reports that sophisticated tunnels literally undermining our southern border still remain in use even after their discovery, thanks to half-hearted efforts to plug the holes created by smugglers:

Why are we even debating who should shut them and how tunnels should be shut from Mexico to the U.S.? Remember my rant over letting that corpulent little gnome al Sadr run around making mischief in Iraq? I feel the same way about the border.

Just shut it already!

This is not complicated. It will work. Israel is proof that a nice fence makes much nicer neighbors. Here is Dr. Melissa's two part plan:
  1. Shut the border.
  2. Increase legal immigration.
There. Simple.

When Mexico turns into Canada--a lovely, relatively corruption-free, happy place and people born there actually decide to stay there to make a living, the wall can come down. It doesn't have to be permanent.

If any leader of the U.S. wants to be taken seriously on terrorism, she/he/it must get serious about the border. I really feel that this has undermined Bush's Iraq stance--at least those who care about American security, anyway.

Unions Do Drive Up Car Costs

But so do tariffs and unfair taxation on American car companies. One way to even the playing field is to invoke tariffs equivalent to the exporting country. U.S. vehicles would look appealing in comparison. An 8% tariff on a $25,000 car is $2,000. That seems only fair, doesn't it, especially when you consider some countries like Vietnam have 80% tariffs on foreign vehicles (and that's "liberalized" from 90%).

John Hawkins cites how Unions drive up costs of cars and cut into profits.

Imagine the auto industry with an even economic playing field. They wouldn't be dying, they'd be thriving. It's also important to know that the upper-management teams at car companies are always top-heavy. I'm not sure these companies understand the notion of "nimble".

Who Pays?

Back to the subject of defrauded men--men who did not father children, played the roll of father or at least sperm-donor--and are on the hook for child support whether they get custody or not (or want it or not) or share DNA or not.

Jeff Goldstein is the latest to post on this topic. It's a regular discussion over at Dr. Helen's. I've posted on it before here and here.

I will synthesize my position:

  1. Divorce is evil and destroys children.
  2. Cheating is evil and destroys marriage.
  3. The new paradigms for family present all kinds of moral problems and ultimately harm children.
  4. Any type of fraud is evil.
  5. Divorce law is inherently unfriendly to children. Separating a child from one of his parents by force causes grave consequences.
  6. Abortions are evil.
  7. Sperm donation is evil.
How's that for no shade of gray? My ossified stance has come from observing how the nuances end up creating big problems like the one Jeff mentions where a woman cheated on her husband, got pregnant with twins from another man, lied to her husband when confronted, he raised them for five years, the marriage deteriorated, he took a DNA test, it ends up he's not the father, and he is being forced to pay child-support for someone else's genetic kids, but the kids were raised by him and believe he is their dad, and the mom has moved out of state with them.

Our society treats eggs and sperm and embryos and fetuses and children like they are nothing. Our society violates marriage vows, cheats and deceives without fear of consequence. These issues are dealt with legally and no thought is given to the morals of the situation.

Family law reveals a hard-hearted nation. It's sickening. It might be legal, but most of it ain't right.

Gaza Had Problems?

Why would the perfectly peaceful parcel of land near Israel need a cease-fire? I had no idea there were any difficulties in that region. Hmmm....... Hamas and Fatah don't get along?

I'm being sarcastic, of course. But it really is amusing to see the hundreds of articles on the cease-fire, when it was difficult to find anything at all on the fighting.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Duke Rape Questions....La Shawn Barber Asks: Unnatural Selection on Both Side?--UPDATE

UPDATE: A profile in courage at Duke. Note to disgruntled white men who rightly consider themselves a persecuted minority: White women who stand for truth and justice and who don't hold the party line receive the scorn and abuse you receive, too. There are good women out there. You need to find them--you might have to brave muscles and a lacrosse stick, though.


LaShawn Barber asks some very important questions about the Duke Rape trial:

Readers, instead of ranting and raving about Mike Nifong or the stripper-accuser, let’s do a cold, hard reality check:

1) What was it about the Duke case that fired you up the most?

2) Aside from the Duke case, have you been following other cases in which people have been accused of committing a crime where the allegations are obviously phony, particularly where the accused was black? If so, tell us about those cases.

I have given my reasons for being so riled about this case in the past. You can read here and here.

But why this case? Why not other cases? I have my reasons and here they are:
  1. This case was hugely public and was a vehicle for typical Leftist narratives that I felt needed to be addressed. At one time in our history, the exact reverse was the case: blacks were brought up on trumped up charges, were victims of a society who rushed to judgment simply because of their race and gender, and were then victims of the judicial system. In addition, if they were, by some miracle pronounced not guilty, their reputations were destroyed. It was wrong then. It's wrong now. Changing colors doesn't change the crime.
  2. As a general rule, I feel that the legal system in America has made it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to be law-abiding. A prosecutor can bring charges against almost any person for any reason. There are so many laws, rules, regulations and fine print paragraphs that we are all potential victims of DA's gone wild. If Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, Tom DeLay and now these Duke kids can get rail-roaded are any of us safe? My concern is personal, too. I have a friend in Federal Prison for literally not properly filing paperwork with the government. The Prosecutor took an instant dislike to him and threw the book at him even though this man had led a pristine life to this point (there was also some Mafia involvement, I'm convinced, by a rival company--but that sounds weird and conspiratorial, I know, but it's true). The legal system has gotten very good at punishing marginal rule breakers and letting true criminals get off with insanely small consequences. (Hello? How is it possible for a woman to drown her five kids and she gets off the hook by reason of insanity?) This legal inequity, this unchecked power makes me nervous for ALL people, and those who are poor or otherwise a minority have the MOST to lose with maniacal prosecutors. This trend must stop.
  3. I am concerned with anyone spending time in prison who doesn't belong there. Now that DNA evidence exists, it is simply not an excuse that there aren't enough tax dollars around to go back and look at cases. If a man can be exonerated of a crime, it must be pursued.
  4. When a crime occurs that is beyond the pale--boys near here just got put in prison for life for sodomizing a Hispanic boy with a umbrella pole--I'm outraged. The crime made me sick. Color has nothing to do with it. A few years back, a black man was dragged to death behind a pick-up by white men (I wasn't blogging then). It was disgusting and vile. In both cases, though, the evidence was clear, the DAs were righteous, justice was swift and fair. There were no special interest groups defending nefarious behavior. These cases are rare, though. The majority of crimes are not white on black or white on Hispanic. The Caucasians don't have a white O.J. Simpson. The majority of crimes are black on black. To a lesser extent, crimes are black on white. Where is the outrage? I have black friends who have been locked in fear their whole adult lives living in Detroit. That's insanity! What are their political leaders doing for them? Nothing. The crime still exists and is excused because to criticize a "brother" is to bring a "brother" down. That is nonsense and harmful to ALL people and to the cause of justice.
  5. The Press made this case front and center. My worry is that there are more cases like this, black and white, that get no press whatsoever. This kind of injustice might be happening right now somewhere and no one knows about it. Had this case not made the national media, or had not made it into blogs like LaShawn's, I might not have known about it. Another example is Harry Reid's land dealings. Without the LA Times and bloggers, I'd know nothing of this case. I blog it because it's notable.
Were this case reversed racially or gender-wise, and were it covered in the press or by bloggers, I'd write about it. I want constrained DAs. I want fair trials. I want convicted criminals. I want just sentencing. I want safe prisons. I want the presumption of innocence for all people white or black. And I want the press to be more curious in murky cases like this.

This case was too fraught, too convoluted and too political from the beginning. Every assumption that could be made was made in the Duke Rape case. Mike Nifong, the Duke University professors and leadership and Leftist elites including the press bought the shaky grounds of this story without question. This is a problem for all Americans. That is why I won't let go of this case.

And just to add this, I'm 100% against no-knock raids.

If the "Peace Movement" Succeeds

This is what will happen.

Via RealClearPolitics

I.Q. And Success

Intelligence and it's affect on culture is one of the scientific "unspeakables". It's just not politically correct to acknowledge the scale of smart to less-than-smart even though most people know that the I.Q. scale mean is 100--meaning that half the population is above this mark and half below.

I.Q. understanding is vital to me personally because my high-functioning autistic son is on the receiving end of different I.Q. analysis. The results mean everything for his classroom placement, curriculum choices and life-course. He has been pegged as everything from mentally retarded to above average depending on the testing situation and the assessment tool used. Guess where my husband and I view may son? Guess where the school puts him?

My mom sent me a series in the Wall Street Journal about I.Q. and future individual and societal impact of giftedness. Several great points were made including:

  • Why must all kids go to college when only about 10-25% max of college students will benefit from this education?
  • Why aren't the skilled trades more emphasized when a skilled worker can own his or her own business, make over one hundred thousand a year and have the satisfaction of creation?
  • Why do employers look for a degree in jobs that don't need it? I wondered this myself when a friend told me that his construction company won't hire a foreman unless he has a college degree. My question was why?
  • Why is so little invested in the gifted?
  • Why aren't the gifted challenged more to show their areas of weakness introducing humility into their education? (This humility came for me in spades in chiropractic college. Biochemistry--the subject and the barely intelligible Egyptian teacher who taught it--nearly undid my future. I got a gentle-woman's "C" and was happy to receive it, thank you very much.)
  • Why isn't the notion of obligation to those less intelligence-endowed introduced to gifted students? I'm not sure about this needing to be sanctioned. The Honor's Society in High School, the School Senate, and college elite social groups tend to emphasize community service. Well, at least mine did.
I think the over-emphasis on college education is silly. Some kids simply aren't cut out for that road and shouldn't be penalized because of it. Parents should recalibrate their expectations. For example, should my son (whose I.Q. is the subject of dispute) end up "average", I may encourage him into a business where he can succeed, be financially independent and not need college.

Family friends did just this with their daughter who had struggled through High School. She went to college, cried many tears of frustration and finally shared her dream of owning a hair salon. Guess what? They put her in beauty school and the rest is success history. They were wise enough to allow her to follow a path to success not to frustration.

When ten percent have I.Q.s above 125, which is generally considered the cut-off for success as a doctor, lawyer, CEO, engineer, etc., and 90% don't, two things must happen:

One, the 90% shouldn't be shamed for finding alternative educational opportunities. These alternatives (two year trade schools, trade certifications, etc.) should be encouraged. Employers should look for certifications instead of degrees. One of the benefits of the industrial revolution is that an average person got to participate in the creation of something great. Maybe a guy couldn't make a whole car, but he could turn a wrench and have the satisfaction of participating in creating something important and exciting. To me, home building (framing, foundation, dry-wallers, etc.) falls into this category. These people always whistle while they work. It's fun creating something and using a skill to do it.

Two, the 10% should be challenged far more and invested in heavily. I know a guy with an IQ easily over 160 who runs a metal-works plant. His boss is lucky to have such genius working for him for so little. Society, however, is missing out. He had a full-ride to a college out of high school, screwed up and got lost for a few years. Guys like him need to be found, educated and put to work applying their gifts. I'm not sure how this could be done, but I do wonder why a college willing to educate this man at one point, wouldn't give him another shot when he gets his act together.

I.Q. needs to come out of the cultural closet. America risks too much wasted talent, if it stays in there.

Haifa Street in Baghdad

Via Laura at Ace, this nice footage of the "surge", or is it pre-surge? Whatever, it's a typical battle and it ends nice, too.

Yoga and Christianity

I have joked with patients that if everyone exercised with Yoga, no one would need Chiropractors. Of course, that is not entirely true, since we have worked with out-of-whack yoga practitioners, too. Just goes to show, you can even overdo a good thing.

Yoga is a physical practice tied into Hindu teachings. In it's pure form, adherents use Yoga as a religious practice seeking enlightenment. In it's Americanized forms, most people are just trying to calm down and stretch out and get fit.

A controversy around Yoga in the public schools has developed. Christian Fundamentalists say Yoga introduces Eastern mysticism and the associated religious practices. Even secularists say Yoga practice in schools violates the separation of church and state. Gym teachers and principals say it calms hyper kids down and helps all children focus for tests.

First, to address the church and state arguments. This argument makes me crazy because it's so intellectually ignorant. Until and unless, the United States government makes Hinduism the U.S. religion, there is no violation of church and state. No child is being told she must bow down to Krishna, or else. Likewise, during a moment of silence or prayer during school, no child has to pray to God or anyone else. In fact, the notion of "separation of church and state" does not exist in our constitution as such. God and His tenets in the Bible were the clear foundation for the constitution, but no state religion was defined. However, should an individual state want to declare a state religion, the constitution did allow for that. So, practicing yoga in an elementary school is in no way a violation of church and state.

The problem of course, is that since yoga is part of a religious practice, and since the schools are so biased against Christian thought and practice, it is offensive that it is taught without question while all things Christian are not allowed. This is another issue altogether. Part of the ignorance in public schools is the lack of knowledge about America's Judeo-Christian heritage--which should also be taught. You can't rightly understand the Puritans and Thanksgiving without a fundamental understanding of religious freedom from what. But schools attempt to do that every year. Teaching about this history does not force a child to become Puritan. There is no violation of church and state. These kinds of educational omissions must be corrected for children to fully understand our history.

Second, would a child be lead to Hinduism through doing yoga poses in gym class? It's possible, I suppose. The teacher would have to be telling the students the spiritual goal of each pose, though. That would require some education and I feel fairly confident that most, if not all, teachers wouldn't take the extra step to actually do that. I'm guessing that it would be taught as physical exercise like basketball.

Finally, as irritated as I am about the anti-Christian bias so pervasive in America public education today, eliminating yoga for this reason seems silly. Yoga has so many health benefits both physical and mental, that I think it's a great set of tools for kids to learn.

  • Breath control--This one element of yoga could help so many Americans dealing with high blood pressure (or they can spend a chunk of money to learn this way). Herbert Benson, MD's book is a classic in this regard. Worried kids learning to control their breathing would be on their way to learning a very fundamental way to help their health in stressful situations.
  • Flexibility--As people age, the problem isn't loss of strength so much as loss of flexibility. Yoga is an exercise regimen that can be continued into old age to reduce this problem.
  • Focus--When twisting your body into a pretzel, it is difficult for your mind to wonder to your next worry. In a sense, the brain gets time to rest during yoga. This is an excellent tool for children and adults in this frenzied world. I note that I can think, think, think, in rhythm when running (or walking, now), but during yoga poses, forget it! Constantly worrying that I might crumple in an unbalanced heap, keeps my mind focused. This is a good thing.
  • Burning calories--Yoga burns calories in a joint-friendly way. So many sports kids and adults indulge in will ultimately cause severe wear and tear eventually making all physical activity difficult. Not yoga. Certain kinds are almost aerobic while sparing the joints.
  • Strengthening--Yoga does more for core strength than just about any other workout besides Pilates. In fact, all athletes serious about body balance would do well to add yoga to their regimen. Most sports develop certain sets of muscles to the exclusion of others, causing imbalances that lead to injury. Yoga can mediate that.
There are a long list of reasons that yoga stripped of it's mysticism can be a benefit to children. My kids watch my husband and I get in poses. They call it "exercise". And that's what it is for us and them.

And when we get out our Bibles, and put on our dress-up clothes and listen to a sermon, they call it church. That is where they find religion.

And as my kids get older, they'll learn about Hinduism, along with Islam, Buddhism, and all the other myriad religions out there. There are as many reasons we don't practice these religions as there are religions and we'll teach our kids as many as we can. We want them to believe God and His Son Jesus Christ. We have lots of very good reasons for teaching them to be Christians.

We also have good reasons to exercise using yoga.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hillary Clinton

You know, I really thought the Left would be more subtle about their aspirations for Iraq--namely, that America is out win or lose, by the election, so they don't have to make any grown-up decisions. They reveal their infantilism if they say this straight out, so I thought, so I figured they would be subtle and deceptive thus the non-binding resolutions.

I was wrong.

Today, Hillary Clinton just plain said what the Democrats want--to run the Presidency, but more importantly to run their candidacy without having to deal with Iraq. (Of course, no matter the outcome in Iraq, future Presidents will have to deal with Iraq and all of the Middle East. A Democrat in the White House won't magic it away, no matter how much they wish it.) She says:

"I am going to level with you, the president has said this is going to be left to his successor," Clinton said. "I think it is the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it."

Bush describes Iraq as the central front in the global fight against terrorism that began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "The war on terror will be a problem for the next president. Presidents after me will be confronting ... an enemy that would like to strike the United States again," he recently told USA Today.

I don't know why these people still shock me, but they do. And some think Hillary will be the New Iron Lady? And some think the only way Democrats will take Terrorism seriously will be to control the Presidency and Congress?

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. If the Democrats have proven anything, it's that they simply won't be serious about any real threat America and the world faces. They aren't based in reality and can't be bothered with the truth.

Drug Legalization

One reason why I have libertarian leanings but don't consider myself libertarian is that libertarianism would make all sorts of things legal that wouldn't be helpful to society. Legalized drugs is one of those things.

John Hawkins writes a superb essay about this:

That's what happened when alcohol was made illegal. However, on the other hand, if we make drugs legal, safer, easier to obtain, more societally accepted, and some people say even cheaper as well, there would almost have to be an enormous spike in usage.

Certainly that's what happened in the Netherlands where "consumption of marijuana...nearly tripled from 15 to 44% among 18-20 year olds" after the drug was legalized.

But, some people may say, "so what if drug usage does explode? They're not hurting anyone but themselves." That might be true in a purely capitalistic society, but in the sort of welfare state that we have in this country, the rest of us would end up paying a significant share of the bills of people who don't hold jobs or end up strung out in the hospital without jobs -- and that's even if you forget about the thugs who'd end up robbing our houses to get things to pawn to buy more drugs. Even setting that aside, we make laws that prevent people from harming themselves all the time in our society. In many states there are helmet laws, laws that require us to wear seatbelts, laws against prostitution, and it's even illegal to commit suicide. So banning harmful drugs is just par for the course.

And make no mistake about it, drugs do wreck a lot of lives. Of course drugs aren't the only things that wreck lives and not every person who does drugs ends up as a crackhead burglar or a dirty bum living in an alley. Heck, Barack Obama, a man some people would like to see as our next President has used cocaine -- and doesn't it seem like every few weeks we read about another celebrity who comes out of rehab and goes on to have a successful career?

One of my patients, a meth addict mother of three, said, "But I'm not hurting anyone." I've also heard this from countless marijuana users.

My response has always been the same, "But who are the drugs helping?"

Drug use is essentially a selfish pursuit. The high is an end around on real, concrete accomplishment. Abraham Maslow writes about this extensively. When people create artificial peak experiences, they cease to have the motivation to create real peak experiences. The real peak experiences require work, time, and focus. They may be harder to obtain but there are no side affects and society benefits.

I have not seen one person who benefited society because of their drug use. I'm interested in people reaching their potential. Too much emphasis has been placed on the "I'm not hurting anyone" meme. The loss of accomplishment and productivity is a valid reason to keep illicit drugs illegal. When people use, even marijuana, they dull their capabilities. Most users while in the haze and high believe they are smarter, funnier, more creative, but come out the other side stunned by their better production when sober.

Another Model Democrat

Harry Reid model Congressman.

John Kerry Makes Everyone Look Good

Do you need any further proof that John Kerry is a moron? I don't. Just when I start to think that the whole political class is one big group of self-serving imbeciles, John Kerry comes along and provides stark evidence that there is still a moral-deprived scale. He makes everyone look good.

John Kerry: morally bankrupt.

A Houston Winter Day

Busy this weekend. Moving rocks. Yes, rocks. We have a path of moss rocks in the back yard and made a family project of moving most of them to save for future landscaping needs.

I look forward to our back yard being finished. Today part of my time was spent screeching at Little Toot to get out of the underbrush. We've had so much rain and everything is twiggy and soggy and leaf-laden and mushy--a perfect home for snakes and other critters.

Still it was fun to get into the brisk air and warm sunshine. Should be 32 degrees tonight. Another cold night to kill off bugs, I hope.

Lunch consisted of beef and cheese ravioli. Everyone ate in that enthusiastic post-physical labor way while the light streamed in through the windows onto the table. Heavy pasta meals just don't work when it's 95 degrees out. Sometimes I miss the extended cold periods we had up North until I remember the dreary gray skies that came with the extended cold.

Ah, well, I still love Houston--bugs, humidity, and snakes and all.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Child-Centered Congress

You know how I'm sick of Nancy Pelosi's fecund uterus? You know how I'm sick of all the talk of squirming little bundles of bouncing energy and the future and "it's for the children"?

The reason why this talk brings on my morning sickness, mid-day sickness and and night-sickness too, is that I thinks it is bullshit. Sorry. That was blunt. Just so you know, I don't view bullshit as a swear word. I favor it, because it's so descriptive. I don't believe these ambitious, eat-my-mother-for-breakfast women mean a word of all their professed caring. All this baby talk reminds me of John McCain's nasty rhetoric about torture. Strange transition, but follow me, here.

McCain brought up legislation to eliminate torture, remember? What was the implication in his tone? Anyone who opposes the legislation MUST BE FOR TORTURE. Likewise, anyone who is against Pelosi's mommy-state legislation (no nannies, oh hell no! We were stay-at-home, bake the cookies moms--that warm fuzzy information via Wolf Blitzer and his snuggly interview with one of Pelosi's progeny.) is against America's children and their sun-shiny future.

It's manipulative and vacuous. It's just all so child-like. Have you had this conversation with your kid lately?

Johnny: I want to go to Jimmy's house to play.

Mom: No, you need to study for your test tomorrow.

Johnny: You NEVER let me do what I want to. You ALWAYS say no. You must be against my friends.

Whenever a Congress person is Jonesin' for their way, they resort to baby talk. So far, we've had whining, theatrics and temper tantrums. How long have the Dems been the majority? Dr. Sanity has a great post along these lines, she concludes:

This childish obsession is probably directly connected to why they seem incapable of treating our completely voluntary military personnel as adult men and women capable of making choices that their Democrat mommies don't approve of. But at least they are consistent. They treat all of the American public as infants in need of their guidance and supervision.

Chief Democrat Squirrel Pelosi has made sure we know that she and her fellow Dems are doing what they do "for the children."

I'm not at all surprised. Their logic of their self-serving behavior suggests that they, themselves, are the "children" they care about most.

Karbala Abduction

The AP via USA Today reports that US soldiers died after being abducted during a sneak attack:

The brazen assault, 50 miles south of Baghdad on Jan. 20, was conducted by nine to 12 militants posing as an American security team. They traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles — the type used by U.S. government convoys — had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues and spoke English.
This is disturbing, indeed. For those who don't believe that what is happening in Iraq is War or are so dulled due to media saturation and video game violence and so view the combat over there as US game-playing, these type of accounts challenge that notion.

I was struck by Michael Yon's latest post. A modern Hemingway, Yon's description of the tense, anxious waiting-to-battle feel will bring you right into the heart of the fight.

As an aside, the AP's report about the abductions I tried to verify elsewhere. I don't have the contacts that some bloggers have, but color me skeptical about all AP reporting these days.

And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with the MSM slanting, lying, omitting and putting forth garbage from dubious sources: no thinking person believes them anymore.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fire Alarm Innovation

Sick of worrying about Fire Alarm batteries? Worry no more. Via Medgadget, an alarm that screws into a light-bulb socket and then you screw the light-bulb into it. No more batteries! Makes a noise that can be heard throughout the house.

Now, if only they made a similar carbon monoxide detector. Well there's this and you could always sort through these.

Why I Don't Take The Democrat Women Seriously--UPDATED

Ann Coulter sums it up nicely:

Girl-power feminists who got where they are by marrying men with money or power -- Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Arianna Huffington and John Kerry -- love to complain about how hard it is for a woman to be taken seriously.

It has nothing to do with their being women. It has to do with their cheap paths to power. Kevin Federline isn't taken seriously either.

I'll vote for America's Maggie Thatcher, when America finds one. Hillary Clinton isn't her. And Nancy Pelosi's triumph isn't soul-satisfying either. She needs to shut up about her uterus and stick to business. One more word about her kids and grandkids.......

Hillary is not the New Iron Lady. I know, stating the obvious. Over at TCS Daily, though, are reasons, why:
Moral clarity: Margaret Thatcher's approach to the Soviet Union lacked the self-doubt and ethical confusion so often mistaken for intellectual sophistication.

Resolve: With this moral confidence came the courage to show strength. Famously, Thatcher warned George H. W. Bush not to "go wobbly" over the Persian Gulf.

The UN and the US: In reference to the United Nations and to the International Criminal Court, Thatcher wrote: "because there is no world 'nation', no world political identity, no world public opinion," the only way to enforce the will of international institutions would be "to suppress democratic instincts, resist democratic pressures."


If Margaret Thatcher is Hillary Clinton's model when it comes to security, defense and personal strengths, the policy direction this would suggest is clear: a confidence in American global leadership and an acknowledgement of American moral superiority over her enemies; a refusal to take orders from the United Nations, and a general skepticism of international institutions; a robust approach to domestic terrorists and a refusal to "go wobbly" over threats such as Iran.

This Thatcherite approach is certainly a formidable and attractive foreign policy on which to run for President. It presents only one problem for Sen. Clinton: making it through the Democratic primaries with a platform anything like it.

I don't think the problem with Hillary Clinton is the Democrat primaries. I think the problem is Hillary, herself. What Bill and Hill have in common is the innate sense to serve themselves. When serving themselves bumps up against serving the country, past experience tells us what they'll choose.

Hillary Clinton has been running for President for a long, long time. She was running before she became Senator Clinton. She knew that she could not become President without keeping her ride hitched to her husbands. Expedience.

She has an authoritarian nature that supercedes her intellect. Actually, in the Senate, her nature is tempered by the constraints of the institution. As President, she will have few of those constraints.

There is no question that Hillary Clinton would be a strong, powerful leader. But there are many strong, powerful leaders in the world guided by whim and greed. They cause big problems in the countries they lead and for the world at large.

Don't mistake the shared sturdy legs and somber tone with shared steely resolve and moral clarity. The style may be vaguely similar, but the substance could not be more different.

LGF: "Orwellian Headline of the Day"

"U.S., Iraqi Troops Clash in Baghdad" is the AP Headline. What do you think that means? That they're working together, right? Riiiiiiight. But that's exactly what they were doing--not clashing with each other as the AP would have you mindless rubes believe (because they know that you don't read beyond the headlines, if you can read at all).

LGF has more great links and information:

  • Were the downed helicopter contractors shot "execution-style"? Probably not.
  • And does President Iran Good Hair really mean "wipe off the map" or is he calling for regime change in Israel? Even Reuters knows what he means.
  • Russian Uranium smuggler caught by U.S. and Georgian officials. What the hell is happening in Russia? So much for 24 scare tactics, 'eh?

Sex Offenders

Why does it seem like psychos manage to assault many children or even women and men before they get caught and yet youngsters doing what young people sometimes do, end up in prison? John Hawkins brings attention to a case in Georgia where a now twenty-year old guy will go to jail for ten years, without parole, for having sex as a teenager with a girl two years his junior who initiated the sex.

Another frustration: I routinely check the websites that list local sex predators, but the information is incomplete. Some of the situations are like the one described above. I'm not going to be concerned about that. "Sexual assault" means what? What were the age differences? Was it a family member or does s/he prowl neighborhoods looking for prey?

I'm all for tough laws and stiff penalties--some of these people are so messed up, no amount of incarceration will "cure" them. Better that they're off the streets forever. But a young man's life shouldn't be ruined because he engages in consensual sex with a peer. The laws weren't intended for that. He will be used and abused in prison. That is not justice.

Depressants Depressing Side Effects

Besides suicide, birth defects, low/no sex drive, trivial health matters all, anti-depressants double the risk of bone fractures. And we have children, babies, on these drugs.

People, you are a walking human experiment if you take anti-depressants. There are many alternatives to these medications--most involve finding the root cause of the problem. And the root cause is not "you were born with a brain imbalance". This passive, hopeless perspective can make depression worse on it's own.

Here are some imbalances that can cause depression:

  • Thyroid insufficiency
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Reactive hypoglycemia, blood sugar handling problems
There are some people who think that depression is "all in your head". These people, some therapists are completely behavioral, therapeutic in their approach. And it is true, some depression is very responsive to talk therapy.

But there are physiological problems that can lead to depression. Some can be alleviated by diet, exercise and natural solutions--including balancing hormones. This goes for men, too. Low testosterone is a huge cause of depression in men. A combination of talk therapy and natural treatments can have amazing results.

Anti-depressants should be a last resort in all but the most extreme, desperate cases. Otherwise, finding a health-building lifestyle regimen can eliminate depression and create a happy life--rather than avoid, or medicate a sad one.

Et tu QE 2?

More sickness on cruise ships. A few days into a 108 day cruise and "hundreds" of passengers have a norovirus. Ewwwwwwww!

I have concluded that it is unnatural to be stuck with so many people on an enclosed ecosystem. Even the QE2 is not immune.

More here.

Giuliani: A Moderate to Love?

I have written here before, that as a conservative I would vote for Giuliani. Why? It's simple really: because he's a leader. A secondary reason is that he can handle the press.

Captain Ed says:

I've often thought that conservatives have been too quick to dismiss Giuliani. Among the front-runners for the GOP nomination, he has the most consistent public record of accomplishment. He fought the Mob and won, crippling their once-unlimited power in the Big Apple, at no small personal risk to himself and his family. Giuliani also took on the task of running NYC when it appeared hopelessly lost to decay and a generation of liberal policies that had allowed the streets to fall under the sway of gangsters petty and grand. He also proved that welfare-to-work policies could succeed before Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress bolstered his efforts at the federal level.

Given his history of turnaround in New York, his executive experience outweighs anything offered by Mitt Romney and especially John McCain. Whatever his positions, he has proven himself more consistent in them than both men, although in Romney's case, his vacillations seem a little oversold. Romney has proven his leadership skills in the Olympics and in one term as Governor of Massachussetts, but Giuliani is a man who governed eight million people for two terms and helped rescue the city when hit by the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.

That itsn't to say that his positions aren't problematic. He has been consistently pro-choice, and like many prosecutors, supports gun-control legislation. Those positions rightly make conservatives worry about what a President Giuliani would do once in office. However, he has also consistently spoken against judicial activism, and as a former federal prosecutor, knows first-hand the damage it does. Giuliani has promised to appoint judicial constructionists to the federal bench, the kind not likely to impose abortion or gun policy from their unchecked positions.

Conservatives should reconsider Giuliani. Of all the candidates in the race thus far, he has the best track record of implementing conservative governance consistently and successfully. Read the rest of the article for an in-depth history of Rudy's tenure as mayor. (via Power Line)

As for abortion, if he made promised not to give any tax dollars to support the abortion ideals fine. It's a personal opinion. Ditto, gun control. I'd also like to hear how he feels about illegal immigration.

I, too, think that Giuliani has a shot and should be considered.

Biden's Logorrhea

Is there a more apt description of the bloviating, self-important wind-bag? I don't think so. It is comical and maddening to watch. Biden is a Senator's Senator which illustrates the problem with the senate: no one can shut up. The only function of the senate is to gum up the works.

Betsy has a funny post about Biden's constant yammering:

Biden's problem is that ever since he was elected senator at the age of 29 he's looked in the mirror and seen a president. And, except for Barbara Boxer, no one else seems to have the same vision.
But isn't that the problem with the whole senate? I think the only member who doesn't want to be President is Dick Cheney.

And don't you just love the word logorrhea? Verbal diarrhea.

Mike Nifong: Victim

KC Johnson explains the charges against Michael Nifong, Durhum District Attorney and former prosecutor of the baseless charges brought against three Duke students. The case is now being investigated by another attorney and hopefully will soon be dropped against the lacrosse players.

Nifong's malfeasance boggles the mind. Here's a brief sum-up (and I'm no lawyer, so these aren't necessary legal terms):

  1. Withheld exculpatory evidence
  2. Lied to the press and court and defense about the existence of said evidence
  3. Held numerous press conferences assuring criminal acts ruining reputations
  4. Did not interview the accused
  5. Did not interview the defendants
  6. Used this case to forward his re-election campaign
  7. Blackmailed a witness--arresting him (taxi driver) for past crimes for being a witness for the defense
  8. Ditto the other stripper
  9. Exploited racial, class and minority sentiments for his own ends
  10. He sticks by his conduct, defends the charges, and wishes to be a "tool for reconciliation" demonstrating that he is completely devoid of any morals.
How can anyone trust any case this man has ever tried? If he is not disbarred, or better yet, jailed, who will believe North Carolina can find justice? There is nothing worse than a corrupt judge, DA or police officer. They distort justice and destroy the faith of the community, never mind ruining lives.

And yet, some commenters over at KC Johnson feel sorry for the guy. Why?
All agree that Nifong is a bad guy who did bad things. But given that he almost certainly will be disbarred, will lose his source of future income, will fail to fully vest in his pension and will spend his entire life savings on legal fees (if not legal judgments), is it possible to feel some pity for this man?

I do.

Not everyone is as bright and as capable as many (most? almost all?) posters on DIW. He got in over his head - and got destroyed. He is most assuredly THE villian in the Duke Hoax Case, but is he not also a hapless, unfortunate victim of his own villainous?
So just to clarify, we should feel sorry for Nifong, even let him off the hook because he's:
  1. Stupid--"not....bright and capable"
  2. Full of hubris--"got in over his head"
  3. Inept--"hapless"
  4. Corrupt--"unfortunate"
This sort of thinking brings someone to feel sorry for Saddam Hussein's hanging. This sort of thinking is what our enemies laugh at.

Mercy without justice is lawlessness dressed in Sunday's best. What a load of self-righteous garbage.

Mike Nifong needs to be prosecuted precisely because he's so inept, corrupt and prideful. So convinced of his superiority or at least so convinced of the states corruptness that he would be allowed to continue his case unmolested, he needs to be on the receiving end of "justice" to understand justice. Some people learn no other way.

Mike Nifong had no love of justice, law, fairness or equity as he brought this Duke case, justice for him will be more than he deserves. False mercy mocks justice.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Iraq--The Surge Can't Come Soon Enough

Pajama's Media from inside Baghdad:

Although the major Baghdad plan isn’t officially launched yet, every day we see several joint operations against targets in and around the city. Still, according to the latest leaked reports, it seems as if the major implementations of the plan are going to wait until the beginning of next month,.

The government here says they are waiting for the buildup of participating troops to be completed, but I think it’s more likely that they are waiting for the Ashura ceremonies to end to allow pilgrims to travel between Baghdad and the shrines safely.

The waiting is proving to be more of a burden on the people of Baghdad than the operation itself would be. Patience is fading under the pressure of the increasing numbers of suicide attacks and the civilian deaths they cause. Baghdadis are desperately waiting for the operation to begin because they hope it can reduce the occurrence of these deadly attacks that distribute death equally among civilians.

However, and despite the spike in suicide bombings there’s a good sign. The numbers of unknown bodies that carry signs of torture have decreased significantly over the last two weeks, an official in the health ministry told al-Sabah:

[The source told al-Sabah that the number of unknown bodies that are collected by the security forces and brought to the morgue has drastically decreased…the number of bodies in the refrigerators is only 35 now and was as low as 11 on one day. Through daily presence near the morgue Al-Sabah noticed a significant decrease in the number of people searching for missing relarives]

Just so you get the picture — these numbers do not represent daily tolls but the number of bodies that accumulate at the morgue waiting for relatives to identify and receive them.

And via Instapundit, go over to Hugh Hewitt and sign this:
If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.
Does the Senate ever do the morally courageous thing? What a club full of softies.


What to Read

Still sick. I might have to break down and go to the doctor. Doctors make the worst patients, goes the conventional wisdom. That's certainly been my experience.

There are plenty of things around the web you should be reading. In fact, I'll share my routine with you right now. (It's no big secret. I actually read all the blogs in my blog roll. That's one reason it's not too terribly long. But the blogs that are there are fantastic--great writing, great ideas. No slackers over there.)

My first stops are Instapundit and Drudge. They help me get the feel for the day. I've also added in RealClearPolitics and John Hawkin's new effort Conservative Grapevine. These last two blogs give me a feel for what people are saying about what is going one.

My next stop is Ace and Little Green Footballs. Charles at LGF got recognized by Forbes as one of the top influential bloggers but they put the wrong picture of him up--actually some dude from New Republic. The picture was procured from a Lefty blog. He's amused and says "how ironic". With all Charles' work into MSM missteps--he's the one who broke the Reuters photo foolishness and CBS Dan Rathergate scandal--you'd think Forbes would work especially hard to get his blurb right. Hilarious...or disturbing, depending on your point of view.

I then start going through my blog "friends". Mind you, I haven't met these people in person, I just consider them to be alike in philosophy and spirit.....and some I really consider friendly acquaintances. Gina Cobb and MaxedOutMama and The Anchoress are chief among these people. I've been blogging for a year and have asked precisely three people to add me to their blog roll. The Anchoress was the first person I asked. It took me a couple weeks to summon the courage. She is just so thoughtful and her writing beautiful. Like I told her, I felt like I was in High School again!

Betsy Newmark and Jeff Goldstein lumped into the same category? Um, not really. But I like them for a similar reason: They almost always agree with me. Yes, blogging is a narcissistic pursuit. With Betsy, I find that her blog posts most closely mirror mine --as to what she finds important and her societal takes. So, when I don't have time to write, I'll link to her--or when she just says what I think better than me, I link to her. That happens a lot.

Jeff? You can't put him in a category. The mold was broken after this bouncing little Joooo was born. Thankfully. He is the sugar and spice and the not-so-nice of the blogosphere and if you're not reading him every day (now that he's back to blogging after a brief hiatus), you're missing out. As a reformed leftist academic turned Mr. Mom writer and blogger, he easily eviscerates
leftist dogma and for the Left, his writing is like movement to a bull. They want to gore him to death and end up the loser. This often results in DoS attacks for Jeff and he's had more than one Leftist Loon cross the line and make the rhetorical personal. He is so funny and weird and wonderful.

Another writer cum blogger, James Lileks, writes so well, I feel like I should pay a subscription. But that's what's great about the blogosphere. Great writing. For free!!

I also read people who challenge me. Ann Althouse, Brendan Loy and Dr. Helen fall into this category. Brendan is my blog husband--a bit too mushy moderate for my tastes, much younger, and married, but what are a few differences among friends? He likes sports and Tolkien. He's sentimental and smart. And he's a weather nerd, so I defer to him in times of atmospheric distress.

Ann and Dr. Helen have.....quirky takes. I consider them to be unconventional sisters. It is clear to me that Glen Reynolds digs challenging, prickly pear women. I read them to consider tired topics from a different view. Another reason I love the blogosphere, is the diversity of thought and opinion.

Finally, I'll fill in the gaps with the rest of my blogroll. Dr. Sanity and Captain's Quarters always make the short list. Some of the other blogs on my blog roll are new additions, and I'm still working them into my routine. And I read the psych and mil bloggers at least a couple times a week, if I can't get to them daily.

And while the Duke Debacle rumbles along, I make sure and visit Liestoppers and KC Johnson to find out what's going on with them. What would this case be without bloggers? These people have made such a difference in a specific meaningful way. The public dialogue, once shaped only by empty talking heads, is being shaped by thoughtful, informed people.

Long live the blogosphere!