Thursday, May 31, 2007

James Lileks Needs Some Sweet Moola

The literary giant is suffering the twitchiness of waiting. Time s t r e t c h e s like marmalade spread thin on a croissant or something. I always believed that knowing was better than waiting and that has proved true every time but once and the one time involved death--something heart breakingly irreversible. Joblessness is not irreversible. So, it's nice to know. He'll know tomorrow. Employers always give bad news on Fridays. But don't worry James, I'm sure good news is given on Friday, too.

In the meantime, he needs some sweet moola. You can help.

More about sweet moola.

Military Motivation

Website of the day: Military It's modeled after these products, which are motivating, too, in their own dark way.

Update: Oops! Forgot to credit Gateway Pundit who has an interesting post about which countries are most "at peace." You'll howl when you see the results. Guess who's not #1 or #50 or #75? Guess which totalitarian regimes rank highest?

It's getting harder to believe that the Left's hate stops at President Bush. All the evidence points to hating America and all it stands for.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What Homeland Security?

Michelle Malkin has a must read post about tireless Washington Times reporter Annie Jacobson's detailing of an aborted/dry run terrorist attack attempt on a airline flight. The government screwed up, the air marshalls sat impotent, the stewardesses refused to correct the would-be terrorists (funny, they have no problem chiding people about their seat-backs--I hate all forms of petty tyranny) when they engaged in illegal behavior like camping out in a bathroom and standing in the aisles during take-off and landing.

Malkin closes with this: "Homeland security begins not with the White House or behemoth bureaucracies. It begins with you."

Fred Thompson In?

Watching Fred Thompson's character talk about abortion on Law & Order the other night made me hope he'd run. Ace wonders if Thompson is a contender or flash in the pan. I vote for contender. Every candidate Republican or Democrat has serious drawbacks. In fact, most have more negatives than positives. Thompson seems to be more positive than negative--humor, easy camera manner, clear positions on issues without seeming strident, experienced and well-liked.

Fred Thompson:
Flash in the pan free polls

Planck, Consciousness, God & Heaven

Brendan Loy, stirred by research he read in the June issue of Discover, wonders if heaven is at the Planck length. It is an interesting post and worth reading. Loy "discovers" the intersection between the soul, heaven, past lives, consciousness and quantum mechanics.

There are some interesting books that bat these ideas around and I'll include a couple here at the end of the post. Someone very curious about these questions is the Dalai Lama. He has questioned, challenged and pestered some of the West's eminent scientists for answers to these existential questions. He doesn't believe science is at odds with religious belief at all. More than a couple scientists have been appalled by the suggestion that what everyone from Moses to King David and his son Solomon to Buddha to Jesus Christ to the Dalai Lama to Max Planck and David Bohm are all describing the same phenomena in different ways. More than a couple theologians are horrified at reducing the soul to the material.

That doesn't mean that people aren't directly or indirectly studying the "soul". Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D. of the University of Wisconsin has been doing seminal work using functional MRIs to assess the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala in the regulation of emotion. What does this have to do with the "soul"? Well, Buddhist monks have been studied because they have the ability to control what shouldn't be controllable--"gut reactions" and emotions.

And where do emotions come from? And why do the emotions of one person affect another person? The discussion of emotions easily stumbles into the area of the "spirit". (Define "bad attitude" or "bad mood", for example. Scientists still don't know what a mood is.) And then there are the notions of shared experiences and how barriers in one part of the species gets broken down and then the whole species can break the barrier. For example, it used to be thought that no one could break the four minute mile, but once Roger Bannister did, lots of people could. This phenomenon is demonstrated in rats and other primates, too. Once one member of the species masters a task, somehow, the information is shared everywhere. But how?

Carl Jung posited a notion of collective unconscious building off of Sigmund Freud's ground-breaking notion of the unconscious. Still other scientists studying in the relatively new field of evolutionary psychology seek a biological, adaptive explanation for the soul. They probably wouldn't call it the soul. They'd call it "human nature." Some evolutionary psychologists have put forth the idea that what many religions call "past lives" is in fact, a form of genetic memory. I personally ascribe to this theory--the idea that the "unused" parts of the cell actually house memory from throughout time. Thus, instincts, inborn morality (innate notion of right and wrong--why do all cultures proscribe brothers and sisters marrying, for example), déja vu, spontaneous language proficiency or foreign accent following brain injury, and other weird neurophenomena can be explained biologically--maybe at the Planckian level.

And then, what of the "sense of being stared at" or, as Bruce Greyson cited in the Discover article studies, Near Death Experiences? We have all felt being watched or described holes being bored into the backs of our heads. This phenomenon has been demonstrated by humans and animals. We "see" without our eyes. We look directly at the source of the staring. How do we do this? We aren't being touched, at least not physically, or at least not grossly physically. Perhaps we're being touched at the Planckian level.

For a biblical perspective on the soul here's an interesting little article. Solomon says this about it:

Ecclesiastes 12:7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it."
I welcome more research into the mind, soul, and spirit. It is fascinating. Truly, we humans are "fearfully and wonderfully made". (I'm sorry, but this is where I part with some in the scientific community. It stretches reason to believe the intricate, elegant, complicated, yet simple processes concomitant with life are the result of a Big Bang or "Big Wow" happy accident. A creation demands a creator, and a smart One at that.)

Here's to the mind that can study the mind.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Home Schooling Considerations

Dana, a homeschooling mom, asked me why I am considering home schooling and what it meant to worry about my "last neuron". I'll answer the second question first. I'm a person who needs silence and solitude and lots of it. Some people would argue that parenthood is antithetical to either silence or solitude and I would agree. I look forward to summer vacation and then look forward to school starting again. The kids go back to school. The odds improve. (Only one toddler at home.) Blessed peace during nap time. Blessed peace during Mothers Morning Out when I take the toddler to a church developmental program (play time with a teacher). I love these times. I actually get to finish a task uninterrupted. Bliss. So yes, I worry about my mental health with home schooling. When would I get this time?

The die-hard home-schoolers will snort derisively at my selfishness. I've heard a pious home schooling mom say, "You wanted children, right? Why would you entrust their education to the state?" It could be argued that the responsible decision is to send a child to public school. I could easily retort that with some home-schooled children I see, the only teacher they have stinks. Home schooling isn't magical. Or rather, it's as magical as the parent who teaches. Let's face it, some parent's aren't magical or even adequate.

My daughter has had truly magical teachers the last two years. Her teacher last year should be bottled and replicated. She was amazing. Her team-teachers this year taught with energy and sensitivity. My son, on the other hand, has suffered in education purgatory, aka Special Education. Special Education is a special hell where no one takes responsibility and the customer gets condemned and excused for performance simultaneously. Finally, we prevailed in getting him placed in a regular education classroom where his teachers and I attempted to make up for two years of under-achievement--by his teachers. He worked doubly hard this year, essentially learning two years of curriculum in one year. All that and he was described by the school as mentally retarded. Right. How many "normal" children learned their times tables up to 12 in one month?

Here's more about why home schooling appeals:

  • My son does get exhausted working so hard at school, but then we spend one to two hours per night slogging through what he didn't "get" during school.
  • My son cannot share when awkward or dangerous social situations occur, so we can't talk about it.
  • My daughter is already talking about other girls and boys who are "boyfriend and girlfriend". There is kissing. These are second graders.
  • My children can extensively discuss the injustices of slavery and the tragedy visited upon Martin Luther King, but cannot discuss the significance of democracy or freedom.
  • My children can walk in line like soldiers, they can follow rules, but they are having independent thought driven out of them. What happens when they stop coming home and asking questions--all the p.c. garbage gets funneled in unchecked.
  • The educational emphasis is crazy. Content that I learned in college, they're cramming in in second grade. Earth science to weather to biology to anatomy and physiology to astronomy--you name it, the scientific concept was covered. Why? I suppose it's for the 50% of kids who drop out of high school. At least they'll know the parts of a bee. Sheesh!
Anyway, these are the ideas I'm batting around. More thoughts?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day: Being Worthy Americans--UPDATED

Do you remember life before 9/11?

I do. We really didn't know how good we had it. We had the luxury of complaining about trivial things. The trouble we endured was mostly personal. Public sorrow was reserved for death by heroism like the Space Shuttle blowing up.

The post-9/11 world simmers with unresolved anxiety and grief. As long as our troops are in harms way in huge numbers, much of the community goes about their business uneasily. I think that's part of the reason the Left wants the war over. It's hard to whistle Good Times Are Here Again (even with a booming economy) when vast numbers of the populace worries about their sons, brothers, and friends. It's unseemly. Many want that discomfort over. The consequences be damned. Everyone just wants a good night's sleep.

The post-9/11 world removed the shroud. Behind this curtain was a monster that everyone hoped didn't really exist. Since then, America generally, and President Bush, specifically, has endured no end of derision because we wouldn't wait for the next attack. Too afraid to see the monster, or too tied to the monster's success themselves, world leaders scape-goated. What else could one do, if one was determined to ignore reality?

And worse things have happened in the post-9/11 world. Multiple hurricanes have slammed the gulf-coast. Mud slides, tornados, floods, wild fires, tsunamis, and just plain weird weather has disturbed the natural order of things. Or maybe, these acts of nature are the natural order of things. Maybe, we've just been lucky. Or blessed.

What these natural disasters have revealed most places, is a tremendous can-do spirit and relentless drive to make things right again. And again. And again. But it also revealed a very dysfunctional community in New Orleans, one that still is not adequately on the road to recovery. This tumult is another source of national anxiety. The leadership vacuum means no one can get on top of it. The individuals there were/are so reliant, so compliant, so passive. The unspoken question: Is this what we're becoming?

I'm reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance:

There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without pre-established harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.
With all the talk about the government doing more, and the talk that if we weren't in Iraq, all the bad that America has endured these last few years would be magic-ed away, makes me wonder about the soul of America. I don't like seeing foreigners marching in my country demanding what another country should do for them. It's un-American to be so needy.

We're the country of boot-straps and individualism.

The one place I see the American character alive and well is the one place half our country seems to most scorn: the military. The best, matter-of-fact, intelligent discussions I've had about human nature have been with soldiers. Perhaps the stark right and wrong contrasts mixed in with the murkiness of war gives them added wisdom. Not perhaps, it does. Soldiers get fidelity. Their lives depend on it. Most marriages depend on fidelity yet fidelity certainly isn't a notion embraced in American marriages. Soldiers get sacrifice. Yet in many quarters, sacrifice is laughed at as an archaic notion--replaced by a narcissistic, licentious self-actualization. When a commenter on my blog wrote that any parent who chose to have a Down's Syndrome baby was selfish, more than a few readers marvelled. Has our society turned everything good inside out? The military, made up of fallible people, at least hold to these ideals. In this post-modern America, the idea of ideals seem quaint.

So, today I honor and remember those who fight and die for freedom. Today is a day to remember those who live and die by ideals once embraced by our whole country. These men and women are the spine of our society. They protect the soft innards. They cradle the future. Without the military, we are not much and won't last long.

I'm worried that the rest of us have become fat and flabby. We owe it to our fighters to reclaim our moral fitness. We need to remember who we are and where we have come from. We need to stop waiting for the government to save us and look within. We need to take a good look at ourselves and be better. We need to do what Emerson recommends:
And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.
Do we even have the moral fortitude to embrace the idea of "advancing on Chaos and the Dark"? Can we say those words? America has work to do. We have work to do to be worthy of those who choose the profession that daily advances on Chaos and the Dark.

God bless those who choose this fight.

UPDATE: Peter Collier: "We're the land of the free for one reason only: We're also the home of the brave."

Memorial Day from the front by Michael Yon.

Fred Thompson asks, "How can you remember something you've never learned?"

Ace calls Memorial Day: "A day upon which we observe the sacrifice of only those soldiers whose deaths can be used as political ammunition against Republicans."

"If you're reading this blog, ... you can thank a veteran, either one who gave his life in service to his country, or one who gave his youth and health."

Confessions of a Chickenhawk.

A picture worth a thousand words.

Speaking of words, do you know the words to Taps? A soldier asks Americans to remember this way.

Remembering a soldier and forgetting the movement he inadvertently inspired.


Dr. Sanity writes more about the moral war:
Hence they are blind and unable to recognize those who--like themselves--are capable of incredible atrocities on a scale beyond imagining, simply because they do it in the name of some"virtue" or "good". This blindness to their own nature renders them morally paralyzed and incapable of confronting the threat of evil.

C.S. Lewis wrote:
"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

The cruelty and inhumanity of this or that particular person is manageable--during time of war and during peace. Where a rule of law reigns, perpetrators will be--must be--held to account (see Bill Whittle's excellent essay that discusses in detail the ramifications to society if they are not).

But the dark is rising again, and its allies, who threaten humanity with their fantasies of a "pure race" or a "pure religion" or a "perfect" society, are loose and once more the singularity that is America must provide the light with which to confront the black, oppressive hopelessness it spreads within and without.

This Memorial Day, let us thank God that there are men and women in the world who are not morally paralyzed by the rabid nonsense currently being propagated by the left; and will not remain silent, but are willing to do what needs to be done to shine the light on that darkness.
And for contrast, here's Paul Belian's take on the moral framework in Europe:
Europe is in the middle of a three-way culture war, between the defenders of traditional Judeo-Christian morality, the proponents of secular hedonism and the forces of Islamic Jihadism. In Western Europe, the fight between Christians and secularists is all but over. The secularists have won. Now, the religious vacuum left by the demise of Christianity is being filled by the Muslims. Since one cannot fight something with nothing, the European secularists are no match for Islam.
America cannot afford to replicate the moral vacuum. America is a house divided. I believe we are a country deciding what kind of belief system will define our future.

And here's what happens when leftists prevail.

Democracy is never free. The fight is never over.

Friday, May 25, 2007

NYT: New Provisions Gain Wide Support of NYTs Writers

Really? That's what The New York Time's blares from its headline, but buried at the bottom there are these findings:

By large margins, people in the poll are aware that the majority of the immigrants who have arrived in recent years are illegal, and 61 percent said that illegal immigration was a very serious problem. A large majority, 70 percent of respondents, said they believed that illegal immigrants weaken the American economy because they use public services but do not pay corresponding taxes.
Did The New York Times ask the people polled if they had read the contents of the proposed immigration bill? Or are the pollsters interpretting the bill for the respondents and asking for a response based on the pollster's interpretation?

My guess is that the majority of American people want something done about illegal immigration, but hope the Congress is smart enough to figure something out. I wouldn't bet on it.

Torture, Real Torture UPDATED Scroll Down

Does anyone seriously doubt what has happened to our three missing soldiers? It's too horrible to contemplate. Here's a torture manual from the enemy just in case you're fuzzy on what torture really is. I get sick thinking about it, so I haven't posted about it. I'm not in denial. I know what those boys are enduring and my thoughts turn to their parents and wives and girl friends and family and friends. Can you imagine? Yes, we all can.

These incidents make the Left's posturing about the evil American soldiers all the more laughable. Please. A bra and panties verses a drill to the hand or chopping off limbs. And what of excusing the terrorist's behavior ala Rosie? Dr. Sanity explains how this explaining plays into the hands of terrorists:

Taking responsibility for their behavior is exactly what all the terrorists of the world expect you to do. Their implicit message is that somehow YOU are the one responsible for THEIR murders. If YOU had behaved differently, then YOU would not have CAUSED THEM to behave the horrible way they did. THEY are the victims, and you are the perpetrators. That is of course the ultimate weapon of the terrorist, isn't it? To make you feel that you cause their murderous behavior? That the beheadings would not have occurred IF NOT FOR YOU?
These terrorists are the living, breathing face of evil. They were not created by America. They exist with or without America. They hate every Western country. They hate us.

And if they are given a chance, they will torture.

UPDATE: Jeff Goldstein says:
Reached for comment, Andrew Sullivan’s outrage expressed outrage—noting that it would take the rest of the day off so it could “hose itself down, crank up the AC, and read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with a pair of silky panties on my head in a show of solidarity with the victims.”
And Don Surber notes the press's outrage in the face of the abomination:
Whether intentional or not, the message is clear: The United States must be above even false reports of torture, while the enemy is allowed to promote eye removal, blowtorching skin and horrors I won’t go into.

The handbook shows that the enemy really is perverted and that its “cause” has less to do with global politics or any religion; they are sickos who like to torture people.

As much as I admire and respect John McCain’s war service, he is wrong when he says our interrogation methods encourage the enemy to torture our people. The enemy was torturing and beheading people well before 9/11.
That this does not disturb so many newspaper editors is in itself disturbing.
Glenn Reynolds says, "SILENCE ON TORTURE: Silence is complicity, you know."

Complicity. Propoganda. Tomato. Tomahto.

Politically Correct Free Speech

I thought it was free speech to burn crosses. I thought it was free speech to view pornography. I thought it was free speech to burn a flag. I thought it was free speech to say, "death to Americans" in a sermon.

But this is a hate crime? This is the problem with thought police. It always seems that a certain persuasion of thoughts are policed while others are encouraged.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Home School Flirtations

The end-of-year madness has begun. The next two weeks will be one activity after another for school and extra-curricular stuff.

And, I've had two people talk to me out-of-the-blue about home schooling. I'm torn about it. It would free us up to do some more interesting things, but I'm worried about losing my last neuron. Any thoughts?

Home schooling...
Is a better option than public schools.
Is a worse option than public schools. free polls

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

American Idol Live Blogging--UPDATED

Gwen Stefani all flowered up. Kelly Clarkson angry. Don't you feel like there is some serious back history with this girl? I think she's been through hell. She doesn't seem congruent with her success.

Weird yellow girl attacks Ryan. He gets lost for a minute. It feels like a staged Ricki Lake show.

The top six guys in white now singing with Smokey Robinson. Wow. He looks good. And his voice is so distinctive--he makes the boys sound....plain. Tears from a Clown. Great song.

GO BLAKE GO! Beat boxing with Doug E. Fresh! Woo Hoo! They did awesome!!

Why are we doing these stupid awards?

Blueberry Eyes says, "The girls are way better than the boys." Amen to that, sister. Gladys Night. Oh, yes! Remember, how I compared Melinda to her? See her sell it? She believes the story she's telling. Ewwww, Haley is back. I didn't miss her vamping it up for the camera. Blech! But I sure did miss Gina! How cute does she look? On A Midnight Train To Georgia...whew! listen to Lakisha and Melinda hold their own with Gladys. Yow!

Tony Bennett. Sounds great--does he ever sound anything else? I just wonder, though, why the recording industry picks old greats to venerate. It seems so capricious. For a while it was Johnny Cash, now it's Tony. Both deserving men, to be sure, I just don't get the group think.

BeBe and CeCe Winans singing with Melinda up front. Lord of the Light, AMEN! Save the world from darkness. I wonder what Simon thinks of this unique American belief. As long as it makes money, right?

"I'll stand by you" remake of the Pretenders. I like Chrissy Hines better, but Carrie Underwood does a nice job. What a beautiful girl. Six million records. And an award from Clive Davis. Woop-de-doo.

Sanjaya is back and still can't sing. He gets the star treatment: Fanfare for the Common Man. Good grief! Why the hell did Joe Perry agree to this? He's awesome. I'd just like to hear him play. Sanjaya can shut up any time.

Does winning matter? I don't think so. Maybe losing means establishing your own terms. Well whaddya know..... Taylor Hicks answers my question for me. He's annoying. Grandpa belongs in Las Vegas in a bar band. Snooze.

Reuban Stoddard--what a great voice. Why hasn't he done better? Is he not cut out for the big-time pressure? He seems to have such a sweet personality. You know there will be a show some day about the psychological trauma of being on American Idol. It will be like those shows about child stars. Ha!

Blueberry Eyes says of Bette Midler, "She looks like an old grandma except with a good voice." I can hear Randy saying, "Dog, dog, it's all right. It was a little pitchy, but it was just all right." Everyone loves her. A tear here and there.

Talk about dragging it out. Fifteen minutes left. Who's in the finals again?

Kelly Clarkson sing Sargent Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band. Oh, I guess this is a butcher Beatles medley. Taylor, oh Taylor.... Redeemed by Reuben. I love his voice.


UPDATE: I came out squarely in the middle of Brendan Loy's Idol pool. A guy named Mark won the last six consecutive weeks. That's pretty amazing. I was too emotionally attached to Melinda. I would have scored better. Oh well.... I think she'll have a great career. Ditto Blake.

Breast is Best And Interesting News

Back to the breast, men. Why? Because God wants you to.

Another reason to get excited about iPods.

I've always wanted to do this with my Suburban. Maybe if I had a Hummer.....

And for all you Brown People Haters, you'll like this.

Would these amendments to the Immigration Bill make you more likely to support it? It's warming my cold, dark heart a bit.

Mickey Mouse propaganda that Disney won't fight.

And from the hubris desk: another huge hurricane season. Because scientists just know it.

I predict Jordin Sparks will win. Because I just know it.

More on Illegal Immigration

The government has made a big show lately of rounding up illegals, doing whatever the government does, and then the spasm of mollifying is over. It seems to me that these stunts have a few purposes: terrify illegal immigrants, enrage illegal immigration activists, and shame those who want the problem of illegal immigration to be solved by something other than amnesty. The charade seems to be an orchestrated dance for affect--it certainly isn't effective.

Again, being in Houston, a town that is 52% Hispanic (Mexican), gives me a perspective here that might be lost on the Blue Bloods condemning the "close minded" and "extreme right". I'd like to think of myself as neither. It is still possible to be against the immigration bill and not be a racist xenophobe.

In fact, in Houston, there is a very peaceful co-existence between Anglo and Mexican, mainly because, I believe, many, many Mexicans were original citizens here. Remember the Alamo? Mexicans fought on the side of Texas, America, because they weren't happy with the non-Democratic Mexican government headed by a megalomaniac, Santa Anna. Texas stood for freedom. Remember Sam Houston? Anyway, a survey given by a sociologist at Rice University (can't find it right now) showed that the vast majority of white Houstonians (80%) viewed the Mexican immigrants (illegal or otherwise) in a positive way. The communities are so enmeshed through work, church and marriage that it would be impossible to separate now. Well, not impossible, but it probably would kill the community to try.

The border towns suffer miserably, though, with the illegal immigration problem. Crime is rampant. Illegals march through private property. Some ranches get stolen from over and over and over. Houston has the problems I mentioned a couple days ago.

Rounding up illegal immigrants will be rendered meaningless if the border isn't shut. Most will come right back. It's a dangerous and expensive trip. The border must be shut before any other law gets enacted. Yes, that will cause inflationary pressure in America. Well, maybe our clotted bureaucracy will then have an incentive to create an easier path to legal immigration. We need the citizens in America to deeply desire to be a part of the fabric of the country and community. We don't need a fringe society.

Most American Muslims Assimilated, A Significant Minority Want To Kill You UPDATED Lutherns Too


Iowahawk reports on a poll of Lutherns. This is significant:

Kohut pointed to one of the study's key findings that only 29% of all respondents agreed that "bloody, random violence against infidels" was "always" or "frequently" justified, versus 56% who said such violence was "seldom" or "never" justified. The approval of violence rose slightly among younger Lutherans and when the hypothetical violence was targeted against Presbyterians, but still fell well short of a majority.

"The only demographic cohort we saw where murderous random violence had a majority support was among 18-35 year old male followers of the Wisconsin Synod," said Kohut. "And that was barely above the margin of error. Even then, fewer than half (41% to 46%) said they would personally volunteer to carry out the violence themselves."
Well, I'm just happy about the majority. Focus on the positive, you know?


Says Ace:
"Overwhelming majority." 26%-69% on the terrorism justified vs. never justified question amoung young Muslim American males.

Again, I was more hoping for something like a "unanimity."

I ask of Mr. Hooper: Would he feel relieved if I told him right now 69% of young non-Muslim males opposed, but 26% supported, killing you and fellow Muslims due to our anger at their foreign policy?

I don't think so. I think he'd call that "hatred" and "backlash."

So I'm not getting why he thinks that we should be happy that only one in four young Muslim men are open to murdering the rest of us.
Ace goes on to illustrate how the media, and the polling company itself (Pew), obscure the important data for politically correct ends.

Cosmopolitan: I'll Have A Pretzel with That Orgasm

As I've noted before, doctors offices receive all sorts of free magazines. A new magazine showed up this month: Cosmo. Young women learn to turn themselves into pretzels for men. They learn to excuse rotten male behavior. They learn to elevate the orgasm to be the end-all, be-all of a relationship. They learn to objectify themselves.

To summarize: Men are dogs. Women must live with it. I thought Cosmo was a feminist publication. Oh wait, it is.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stupid Vegans

There are no other kind.

My husband groaned when I pointed out a couple weeks ago, the couple who starved their baby to death by refusing to give the baby protein. Stupid. And then there's the family who starved their toddler a few years back. My husband, the chiropractic physician, knew that the news was blog-worthy and I would, eventually, blog about it. "Please don't say vegans are stupid. Can you at least put it a nice way?" he urged. Well no, I can't. Actually, I had forgotten about the stupid vegan thing, but Glenn Reynold's post reminded me. He says he had a girlfriend who came down with Kwashiorkor from her vegan diet. Amusing and unsurprising.

One of my first patients in clinic was a stupid vegan. When I pointed out her leather shoes, she shrugged. The next week, she had on some plastic shoes. I told her that there was no way to stay healthy long-term by being vegan. She was a college student, a nice girl, but she was making herself increasingly sick with severe B vitamin deficiencies typical of long-term vegans and vegetarians. Her B vitamin deficiency was already contributing to an anemia that made her very sick when she menstruated. Eventually, she'd be that sick all the time.

"Have you seen one healthy vegan in your years of practice?" I asked my husband rhetorically. He knew the answer. We had treated one healthy vegetarian. She was very meticulous about her food pairings to get proteins. And she was healthy. One lady in ten years of practice.

Because we are in the "alternative health" field, we see more "alternative" lifestyles than the average health care practitioner. We see a lot of vegetarians and vegans. To a person, they are all marginally healthy. The vegans are sickly. Their bodies lack definition. Their demeanors lack vitality. Their skin is dull.

It serves no purpose to pretend that veganism is a healthy lifestyle choice. It's not. Eventually, the stores of vitamin B12 in their livers will be depleted and they'll descend into madness. More madness. I'm only slightly exaggerating. In addition to the B12 problem, they'll have problems with folate, too. (Another B vitamin.) It is important to supplement with both, when supplementing with one. A pregnant or nursing woman should never adhere to a vegan diet.

When a patient says she is a vegan, I ask if it's for health or philosophical reasons. If it's health, we go through the science and end the nonsense. If it's philosophical, I don't even bother. I recommend the supplementation, ask the patient to look at the research, and hope for the best.

A friend of a friend came to a birthday party with her waifish two year old. She was a hostile little girl who was clearly malnourished. (I'd be irritable, too, if I was hungry and lacking nutrients.) There was no convincing this woman to add protein to her child's diet. Her husband, an executive for Exxon, caused her no end of mortification. "What can I do? He works for an oil company," she explained when I commented that their lifestyle was owed to a big American business. Anyway, she was starving her children once weaned from breastfeeding.

Nina Planck writes about parents starving their children with veganism in her "Death by Veganism" op-ed in The New York Times:

Responsible vegan parents know that breast milk is ideal. It contains many necessary components, including cholesterol (which babies use to make nerve cells) and countless immune and growth factors. When breastfeeding isn’t possible, soy milk and fruit juice, even in seemingly sufficient quantities, are not safe substitutes for a quality infant formula.

Yet even a breast-fed baby is at risk. Studies show that vegan breast milk lacks enough docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, the omega-3 fat found in fatty fish. It is difficult to overstate the importance of DHA, vital as it is for eye and brain development.
A good diet is simple, really, and most people know the answer. Fresh fruits, lots of them, vegetables, and some meat. At least nine ounces of red meat a week, is a good goal to shoot for. Eggs, cheese, light on the sugar, moderate on the alcohol and good fats. Babies need breast milk. After that, they need a balanced diet including protein.

I don't know what to think of the life sentences for the parents who starved their baby. I'm assuming it was from ignorance. While I'm happy that the sentence gets them beyond their child-bearing years, I'm not sure they fall into the same category as cold-blooded murderers. But the mother said that she loved her son and, "I did not starve him." Well, she clearly starved him. At six weeks old, he died being only 3 and 1/2 pounds. And that's a crime.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Go Out And Play

My mom would kick us out of the house and tell us not to come through the screen door one more time or else. Our yard wasn't fenced. No one's was. You could see neighbor's yards up and down the street. The demand, "Go out and play!" was universal. Ann Althouse is bemused by the new trend in parenting, "Traditional Play". What's old is new again. Parents are kicking their kids out to play.

As a kid, I was kicked out. A lot. There were games of kick the can and tag and water balloons. My sister surreptitiously rode her bike three miles to her "boyfriend's" house in second or third grade. That's my daughter's age. There is no way in hell I would allow my kids to do that today.

Last summer alone, there were three separate attempted kidnappings, thwarted by watchful but out of sight mothers, in our planned community. A week ago, a mother returned to her car from the preschool with her child where her infant sat in a car seat waiting (a two minute turn around) to find some guy in the car. He quickly ran out and jumped into a car with another person. Car jacking? Attempted kidnapping?

In my neighborhood, there have been two break-ins in broad daylight and one car stolen out of the driveway. I live in a good neighborhood. The crime rate is realtively low.

But here's the differences from when I was a kid. Most of the neighborhood is filled with couples or single people or retirees or families where both parents work or some combination of the above. One street has only one family with children. Oh, and those without kids (most of the neighborhood) drive like they're in the Indianapolis 500. There are yard workers everywhere. There are contractors here and there. With air conditioning and houses closed up, no one can hear someone in distress.

It is simply not the same as when I was a kid. Friends of ours moved out to the country and built three lots backing up to a stream so their kids could run amok, safely. They've been robbed three times.

It's not like it was all innocence when I was a kid. I walked about a mile to Kindergarten by myself, with a group of neighborhood kids and one street over another Kindergartener was abducted and the case has never been solved. When I was in High School, the mother of a girl on my basketball team was raped by a serial stalker/rapist. That guy was loose during a very hot summer and all the women were terrified because the windows had to be left open or suffocate. No one had air conditioning in Michigan.

Our solution, has been to build a pool and put play stuff in the yard. The kids beg to go out and play, but I still have to supervise. There are just too many unknown people in the neighborhood. There is no rhythm like when I was a kid--dads leave at 7 or 8. Dads home at 6. People have crazy hours. People travel all over for work. What can I do? Let them go?

I want a return to traditional play. That would be great. I wonder at the luxury of turning loose my kids for hours upon hours and telling them to "be home by dinner".

Can you imagine the condemnation if something happened to my child? The world is a different place today. It just is.

Double Daddys Single DNA

I'm no judge, but this would be my solution to idiotic identical twin brothers denying custody of a child who clearly belongs to one of them: Split the child support down the middle. Give mom sole custody. And make the brothers share custody together when they're with the daughter/niece.

And if they don't like that solution, make them BOTH pay full child support.

Carter Speaks For Many

Dismissing Leftists for being irrelevant relics would seem rational except their delusion has extended to believing that the last election mandated making their delusion proudly public, which makes dismissing Leftists dangerous--their delusion, unanswered, becomes, say, conventional wisdom. Dogma. They ran on centrist politics which got them elected, and, since Speaker Pelosi's coronation, become bold in their radical ways. Former President Carter typifies the brazen disrespect for the office he once held and the country he claims to love. But like Jeff Goldstein notes, it's more than that: can give the guy 15 Nobel Peace Prizes, honor him with a million “humanitarian” awards, and pretend until the end of time that he is some sort of sage and world-wearied saint walking among us, reminding America of What It Should Be—and still, no amount of artificial burnishing of his “peace” credentials, or “manufactured consent” over his foreign policy wisdom, or revisionist history over his tenure as President will change the fact that Carter is a living, breathing embodiment of what is worst in the American character: the willingness to buy cheap grace at the expense of addressing difficult moral choices honestly and without predictable moral posturings; the desire to saddle ourselves with a kind of forced humility in an effort to diminish our national successes lest we begin believing our own hype about the historical superiority of a country founded on a belief in freedom and individual liberty; the ease with which we can assign bad-faithed motives to our ideological opponents; and the facile “understanding” of the human condition that has, by way of sheer intellectual laziness, led to a shallow, feel-good puddle of cultural relativism that, ironically, finds the faults of its own culture disproportionate to the collective faults of all other cultures (which, of course, it can’t presume to analyze—because doing so from our own cultural perspective does the Other the same disservice that Heisenburg’s gaze did to any object it happened to fix on).
Jimmy Carter typifies the Left's perspective: judgmental, condescending, zero self-awareness and blissful ignorance at the reality swirling around the world these days. But the former president possesses something worse, or rather, he lacks some very important traits for a man who claims Christ. Namely, he lacks the fruits of the spirit and the actions of love.

His razor-sharp tongue has been brandished as a weapon as late. He has no trouble speaking evil of dignitaries. He has no trouble vaunting himself or behaving unseemly. He could hardly be described as temperate or kind. He certainly shows no love for his enemies. (His chief enemy occupies the White House, not the rogue nations around the world. Those are his friends.) His rhetoric and demeanor is joyless. And the last thing he seems to seek with his ideological opponents is peace.

Now, I'm not here to condemn Jimmy Carter. His spiritual walk is between God and him. That said, his very public life, due to his very public statements, do reveal his fruit. His rotten fruit. Out of the abudance of the heart, the mouth speaks. And he keeps on speaking and revealing a root of bitterness that somewhere along the line took serious hold.

What has America done to Jimmy Carter that justifies his antipathy?

It would be easy enough to discuss the psychology of his pathology, but that really doesn't matter in the scheme of things. The man needs behavior modification. Since he speaks for many, heres some advice for his followers and ideological adherents:
  1. Argue constructively. Name-calling isn't constructive.
  2. Show some respect. Good grief! I'm no fan of President Clinton, but he was the President of the United States of America, the world's only super power. Just on the outside chance there is some divine providence involved, give the office of the president respect.
  3. Consider the notion that your opponents have given as much thought to their opinions as you have given to yours. Or is that why you're so dismissive?
  4. Shut. Up. Bile dripping vitriol demeans the person using the rhetorical device when the content of the argument is either unhelpful, ill-considered and/or just plain wrong.
Grandma Pelosi's threatening to sue the President. Comedians insulting the President to his face. Pastors using the House of the Lord at a funeral to denigrate the President's, who sits in front of him, policies. The press's non-stop amplification of the President's verbal mistakes and general awkwardness. Jimmy Carter's disrespect for the office he failed at himself (he, of all people, should know how difficult it is to be President). There seems to be no shortage of contempt for President Bush.

President Bush is a big man. He can take it. What is diminished by the non-stop poison is the office of President itself. What is diminshed is notion of constructive debate. What is diminished is the spirit of the people engaged.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Anger and The Left--UPDATE

Far be it for me to disagree with Thomas Sowell, a mental giant, while little ole mouth-breathing me battles sinus drainage and struggles to put two cogent thoughts together, but I find that I must. This less a disagreement than a distinction. He writes that the Left is angry:

That people on the political left have a certain set of opinions, just as people do in other parts of the ideological spectrum, is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is how often the opinions of those on the left are accompanied by hostility and even hatred.
Well, yes. But why is the Left angry? Here's Dr. Sowell's theory:

Their greatest anger seems to be directed at people and things that thwart or undermine the social vision of the left, the political melodrama starring the left as saviors of the poor, the environment, and other busybody tasks that they have taken on.

It seems to be the threat to their egos that they hate. And nothing is more of a threat to their desire to run other people's lives than the free market and its defenders.

This could disintegrate into a chicken-egg argument, but I think that those who hold politically leftist views were angry first and found a home in leftist politics rather than picked politics and descended into perpetual, irrational anger.

Happy people don't tend to be drawn to leftist politics.

I'm reminded of the opening line by Scar in Lion King, "Life isn't fair, is it?" People with a philosophy of "life's not fair" and, and this is important, it's someone else's fault, look for a home. When life isn't fair, playing by the rules nets nothing. "Good guys finish last" is like unto the first belief. So to "even the playing field" sometimes "rules need to be bent" for the "greater good". Anyone who attempts to thwart this end-around proves the first belief--life's not fair. Anyone who tries to engage in a rational debate is dismissed as ignorant or elitist or racist or sexist or in denial. The world is a dangerous place, full of woe and only privileged people fat from living off the backs of the poor are too blind to see it. Oppressed, unite and fight!

Everyone looks for evidence to support their beliefs. This became crystal clear to me growing up in a wacked-out church. Were crazy people attracted to cults or do cults create crazy people? Crazy people are attracted to cults and the cult reinforces the crazy. A little bit of truth gets twisted beyond recognition and serves as fodder for the suspicious, the wounded, the fearful, those who want the home they never had--the guarantee, the slam-dunk for a very complicated and unstable world.

The political left is not so different from religious cultists (which makes it all the more ironic the way they scorn Christian conservatives as the Number One Threat facing mankind after global warming). That's why the Left so looks like a cult these days--they act like one. In the aftermath of 9/11, a psychologically trying time for even the most faith-filled, a good portion of the left went bonkers. The underlying fears, suspicions, unhealed wounds and instabilty surfaced and reminded them of that trapped, helpless feeling. Rather than recognize the threat burning in front of them, they chose denial and continue to try to push the experience through the cheese-cloth of victimhood ideology. But who to get angry at? The religiously diverse, "youth"-ful, brown people were vitims, too. Had to be. The killers couldn't be responsible. There couldn't possibly be a morally obvious situation on 9/11.

Life wasn't fair for the terrorists (an unfair term in itself) and it was someone else's fault.

Until those on the left let go of their own self-perception of victimhood, they will not let go of their political ideology. The philosophies go hand in hand. Their anger predates their political persuasion, it just found fertile ground to grow in the leftist dogma.

UPDATE: Gina adds this:
Another of the stages of grief is anger, and indeed the anger seethes and boils on the left -- not anger for true terrorist enemies who would destroy us all, but for those in America who were right all along about the primacy of national security and public safety. Very little of the frivolous agenda of the left makes any sense in a post 9/11 world. Hence the rush to retreat from Iraq and, more fundamentally, return to September 10, 2001.
And I would add that the new religion of Environmentalism has been created to try to counter-balance the real threat. "See, we see a real, true threat, too! And we're the only ones doing something about it while the Right lets polar bears DIE!" Regular Americans, though, see the silliness. A melting glacier seems like a distant problem when a box cutter is at one's neck.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nicholas Sarkozy: The Great French Hope

Just when I feel too depressed about the world situation, Austin Bay infuses hope into my day. Why? Because he's hopeful about France. Read that again. In France, there is hope!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mouth Breathing Mucus Head

By the way, I've been posting light because I have felt like a dump-truck full of mucus back-loaded into my cranium. Some of you have suspected that I'm a mouth-breather, and today, I tell you, that's literally true. Gah! I'm going to bed.

Education As Indoctrination

This post by Dr. Sanity is too good. Go read it all.

Solving the Illegal Immigration Problem

I live in Texas and Texas has lots of illegal Mexican immigrants fueling the booming economy with cheap labor. I say "cheap" and mean that they are getting paid what the job deserves and combined, families make enough money to live and live rather well. Houston has one of the cheapest housing markets in America mostly because it's unregulated. Contrast Texas with California and you'll see the difference. I don't know how illegals fare in California.

Houston, like other cities with thousands of immigrants, suffers under the weight of the illegal immigrant burden. The health care system is suffocated with those who cannot or will not pay. A friend was outraged when he went to the hospital after getting in a crash and the people who had been in the accident with him checked in at the same time. They had no money and no insurance and they got treatment while he got out his wallet to pay his hefty deductible. He said to the insurance person, "Hey, I want to say I have no insurance."

"I'm sorry sir, but you already gave me your information, I have to show that you have insurance." My husband and I have a $6,000 deductible. We're self-employed (you know, rich doctors) and our inflated insurance premiums and billing subsidize the uninsured.

And then there is the imported "mind set". I have many Mexican friends and they all bemoan it, but it's a reality nonetheless. Mexican society is not a merit-based society but a family and classist society. One reason the Mexican government doesn't want the border stopped up is that the angry, unemployed (because of corruption) underclass would mutiny ala Venezuela. The U.S. government doesn't want this either. It would be a bad thing to have a civil war on our Southern border. The other problem, more insidious and less obvious, is that mind-set filters through here. It is impossible, for example, to get a job at the local Wal-Mart Distribution Center without a familial, Mexican, connection. It's a long story about why I know this, suffice it to say, I know. There is one employee there who "screens" all job candidates and guess what happens if he doesn't like the potential employee? The Mexican system isn't merit-based, it's relationship based. And yes, I am not so naive as to think that this kind of thing doesn't go on everywhere, but in the American system, nepotism has limits--it's called a board or there are rules.

The workers compensation and personal injury lawyers in Houston are fed clients through a family business (or rather a couple of family businesses) that are hispanic. The lawyers and doctors fed those patients are very deferential to these women. Very deferential. The families have the power to make and kill businesses and the doctors and lawyers know it. The patients are fed to certain doctors who will diagnose the right kind of injury to get the most money out of the insurance companies. Another way insurance rates goes up.

And then there is the unfairness educationally. An Anglo competes with lesser educated children of immigrants for spots in colleges. While I am no way in favor of an uneducated underclass, the notion of fairness in such a high-stakes enterprise as college illustrates the unintended costs of illegal immigration. Children of illegal immigrants are minorities and as such, are granted special favor in subsidized education. A friend's (now legal but started illegally) child has a full ride to college. And she didn't pay taxes on her house keeping business either.

To say that there would be humanitarian woe should all illegals be rounded up and sent back to Mexico is an understatement. Can this be averted? Yes, but this is a secondary question, really, and a red herring. It is a problem that doesn't need to be solved right now. The first problem is stopping the flow of workers from south of the border so we don't have this continuing "humanitarian crisis" in the future. But for economic and social reasons, Congress and the President have no intention of creating a secure border. The United States electorate would experience inflation again with a tight border. It's simple, really. Less workers, higher wages, businesses struggle to keep costs down, prices passed on to the consumer, rinse, repeat.

Once the illegal flow from Mexico is stopped (picking off drug runners armed to the teeth would be a nice start), the question of digestible immigration can resume. It is the height of folly to bring in a socialistic mind-set, subsidize it and then want it to discontinue magically somehow. The solution is an immigration system like when Ellis Island was active. It is almost miraculous when you go there and see how thousands of people were processed every single day. We need to do the same thing again. There is no question America needs more workers. What we need are engineers. America still draws the best and brightest from around the world. We need to make it easier to do legally.

Once the border is blocked and a more seamless legal immigration program is enacted, then we can talk about how best to help the illegal immigrants here intigrate into society. Whole parts of California acting as Little Mexico is anathema to me. What are we as a country without a culture, language, laws, and borders? We cease to exist.

For a differing point of view, The Anchoress.

Update: Does anyone believe for a minute that illegal immigrants won't continue to pour over the Rio Grande even after this sweeping legislation? Please. This is not a real solution. This is appeasement. As a political issue, I still maintain this topic hurts Democrats more. This issue is not a problem that only those on the extreme left and extreme right care about. At least, I don't consider myself extreme. I don't want the families involved hurt. I want the problem solved in the future. Passing out biometric cards will only interest law-abiding Mexicans, which, when it comes illegal immigration is an oxy-moron, isn't it?

Blogger Threatened For Posting About American Islamists

You know that blogger who posted about Islamberg in Upstate New York that I posted about a few days ago? Well, his life is being threatened and he's being stalked. The caller/stalker knows where he lives, what he drives, etc. The FBI wouldn't talk to him. The local police finally took a statement.

Reporting about American Islamists can be deadly.

H/T Instapundit

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Doping Kids And Your Tax Dollars Pays For It

Would it concern you to know that nearly one out of 100 teenage boys is on anti-psychotic medication and one out of 150 girls is on anti-psychotics? From the Wall Street Journal:

Medco found prevalence of kids taking antipsychotic drugs, once called major tranquilizers, roughly doubled, with about 1.2% of boys and 0.75% of girls taking them in 2006.

Widely used antipsychotic drugs -- including Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel and Clozaril -- are approved for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults, but not children.

Dr. Insel said the drugs often are prescribed for kids for disruptive behavior and other unapproved uses, particularly to children previously on antidepressants and ADHD drugs.

A federal survey of doctors' office practices estimated a sixfold jump from 1993 to 2002 in patients aged 20 or younger prescribed antipsychotic drugs, to 1.224 million. It found 38% of those prescriptions were for disruptive behavior such as ADHD, 32% were for mood disorders including depression, 17% were for developmental disorders such as mental retardation and autism, and 14% were for psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Meanwhile, Medco found use of prescription sleeping pills nearly doubled, to about 0.3% of boys and 0.44% of girls.

"The fact that these kids have to get a prescription pill to go to sleep at night is amazing," said Dr. Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical official, adding parents should try slowing kids down at night with curfews on caffeine and computer use, for example.

He said Medco's numbers reflect drug use among adolescents covered by private or government insurance, but in general children in the Medicaid program use more prescription medications and those with no insurance take significantly less.

So, 70% of teens taking an anti-psychotic do so because they feel sad or they act bad--not because the have a concrete diagnosis. And kids on sleeping pills? Are these doctors demanding that the kids knock off the Red Bulls, or just as likely, the Ritalin or other amphetamines so popular these days?

Now, for the Medicaid users. There are those who would say that the uninsured are under medicated--you know Risperdal deficiencies that are so prevalent these days, but it's funny how people who don't have insurance don't take the meds. I'm also curious about standard insurance med usage rates. Are Medicaid users, are poor people, more likely to be mentally ill or is the fall-back position of stressed parents and inflexible school bureaucracies, medication? Whether there is discrimination or whether human nature looks for the easy way out, these numbers are profoundly disturbing.

Melinda is Gone

I'm in shock.

Censorship in Europe

So, France won't allow the violence being done by "youths" to be published on the internet or other forms of media. They will "moderate" content. Fausta says, "where France leads, Europe follows."

Does America follow after Europe?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

American Idol: Blake's Not So Sexy, Jordin & Melinda Push It UPDATED

Okay, to get right down to it, I couldn't put my finger on what's been bugging me about Blake lately. Tonight it became clear: he's got no sexy in his singing. The best singers are making and giving love to the listener. They tell a story and they are selling it. And, we all know sex sells. The only time Blake relaxed enough to sex it up was when he sang the Zombie's song Time of the Season. Otherwise I've found his delivery to be rather mechanical. Tonight, singing Maroon Five's This Love, he sang around the overtly sexual lyric "dig in my fingertips" which leaves little to the imagination. To deliver that line means going after it enthusiastically. Enthusiasm and comfort in sexiness. Eh, he's 26, but if Justin Timberlake can bring sexy back (where did it go?) so can Blake.

Melinda got pushed tonight and she actually did better. She will thrive with input from producers and song writers. She's a pro. No matter how this ends, she's going to win.

Jordin continues to improve. She's absolutely gorgeous and the camera loves her. She's going to have a career, too.

I like all three, but I like Melinda best.

Now, off to House and the mind-numbing ridiculousness that is debates this early in the process.

What do you think?

Who do you think will be voted off tonight?
Melinda free polls

Aiding And Abetting A (Molester) Criminal

The number of grown women who tell terrible tales of sexual abuse shocks many a new doctor. What is even more shocking than the abuse is the number of women who report that their mothers knew of the abuse and blamed the child or looked the other day or demanded that the child shut up about it. Or, in the case of the woman in this story, took $10,000 in hush money to lie to abstruct the police investigation and lie about the abuser. She got 65 months in prison for her lies. That's nearly five years--if she serves it all. Her lawyer thinks it's excessive. I wonder how long it will be until her disabled daughter trusts anyone again.

UPDATE: You know, the poll is unanimous so far--all ten people voting believe the by-stander should be punished, but I never hear about this actually happening. Is it to keep the child with at least one, albeit bad, parent?

Should women who know their child is sexually abused and covers for or fails to report the abuse be prosecuted, too?
No free polls

Monday, May 14, 2007

Katie Couric: Is It A Woman Thing?


It's a Katie thing. There's a big chunk of the world who isn't interested in her.

It's a biased thing. If the woman attempts to be unbiased, it's a feeble attempt.

It's a boring thing. How is Couric a big, dramatic change? Everyone knows her. Everyone already had an opinion. Snooze.

It's a technology thing. Younger people are on this new Internets contraption.

In short, it's not a woman thing. It's a stupid thing. Stupid TV executives. And ultimately, stupid Katie.

France's Election: Revenge of the Old People?

Why would France's elderly (60+) vote for a government reformer intent on lengthening work weeks and making the country more competitive? Tom Peters has a theory:

The real story is far different. As to "the trounce," Trounc-ee Royal was in fact the trounc-er with a "very interesting" "little" slice of the population. She in fact handily topped Sarkozy among those who are in the 18-59 demographic. That ain't Gen X, my friends, that's more or less everybody on active duty in the workforce!
So how, in the end, did Sarkozy become the Ultimate Grand Trounc-er? Simple. He beat the bloody hell out of Royal among the 60-and-up crew. "Beat the bloody hell out of" equates to unheard of margins that were above 2-1.
That is, Team Elder exerted incredible, decisive de facto unity and power in France's demographically old-and-getting-older-and-we're-healthy-and-will-
be-around-for-a-long-long-time population. It's not that Sarkozy beat Royal. The actual story is that the 60+ geezers have ordered the wee 60 minus crew to get the hell to work and stay the hell at work ... so the Six Zero Plussers can get their hands on the loot they need to spend their remaining winters in Nice, or some such.
So it really is the conflict between selfish generations, in his view.

But, there seems to be more to the story than even Tom Peters thinks. The only group Royal won out and out were the 45-59 year olds. Are the Boomers as indulgent in France as they are in America? Seems so. In the United States, though, this huge generation holds significant sway. And their kids are voting age now, too. Are they any better?

Maybe the older French and younger working French (not the college students inclined to communism since most have never worked a day in their lives and haven't experienced the soul-sucking wretchedness of working hard and watching half of it go to the big government black hole) actually want a better France--a more vibrant, economically viable France.

Or not.

H/T Brussels Journal

What You Should Know Today

Do you know that there is a terrorist training camp in Upstate New York? My husband's family doesn't live too far from there. The locals are terrified. Not one on-the-record statement from a local. In America.

Do you know how good the commander in Iraq is? Do you know about Michael Yon, the great independent reporter in Iraq? He's a blogger, not some MSM hot-shot. He dodged an IED again this week while travelling with British soldiers. It's not all candy corn and sunshine in Iraq, but there's hope, too. Why is it that the media vascillates between certain doom, and paradise of Eden proportions (if only America would leave) when talking about Iraq?

Do you know that Planned Parenthood ignores the law when it inconveniently impedes abortions? You've suspected it, but how do you get proof, right? Well, here's some proof.

Do you know that Global Warming Zealots are for spreading the "word" and against scientific inquiry? It shouldn't be surprising, given that Global Warming can be classified as the new, "new age" religion. Meanwhile, "The Secret" causes some heartburn as new age nonsense. Small potatoes next to all the other nonsense being foisted as fact.

Do you know the biggest problem facing the music industry isn't suck-bag talent but poor college students down-loading 80s music for free? The best people in the world to sue are those who can't afford a defense, don't ya think? Where do they come up with a $3,000.00 number? Why not just charge the kid fair market value for each song?

Do you know that mothers pass on their cells to their babies and babies leave behind their cells in their mothers? And, do you know that aborted babies leave the most behind? Truly, a mother who has aborted her baby carries that memory and the babies cells with her, forever. The mother is permanently changed.

Do you know that you can launch your music career as a blogger? Yes, you can. This guy did. So stop making fun of me about my blogging, family! Not that I have music dreams, but I have other dreams and maybe the blogging will help...or maybe it's just a diversion.

Do you know all the stuff you can find in J.C. Penney's? Do you know that losing a job can be the beginning of the life you were Meant to Have?

Do you know about the teachers who faked a terrorist attack, terrorizing students unnecessarily? Can you say law and suit?

Do you know that we're in a recession? It seems to me that the recession is hitting some and not others. Since Texas continues to chug along, it makes me wonder how the northeast is doing. My family and friends seem to like it fine, but don't realize that the area is dead compared to the south. They're like boiled frogs.

Do you know that this will make the recession worse? When Wal-Mart is losing money, when GM's profits are off 90% (because of the mortgage market), when home sales are taking a dive, when sub-prime lenders are dying, and when all sorts of weather disturbances are causing economic hardships for bigger and bigger swaths of the populace, it's not good.

And for news I've missed that you shouldn't miss, go visit The Anchoress. I'm glad she's feeling better. She has a unique gift.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Motherhood, Marriage & More About Sex and Women

Why do people have sex at too young an age? Siggy has the answer.

The bigger question: Why does it matter? Unmarried, uneducated young men resulting from single mothers cause untold economic damage. They cause more crimes, they create more children they don't support, they not only waste their own human potential they waste others--killing, raping and pillaging until they themselves die a premature death or end in prison. (LaShawn Barber writes on this.)

The girls resulting from these families, fatherless and unsupervised, many with men meandering through their mother's lives, go on to have young sex, lots of STDs, birthing children and ending up in the same situation of their mothers.

And yet, social engineers refuse to acknowledge their part in creating a hardened society filled with broken-hearted people who fall into two extremes: women alone with children overwhelmed and undersupported or women barren, married and facing this:

Compounding the problem, earlier and increased sexual activity means a greater likelihood for contracting gonorrhea or chlamydia. In women, pelvic inflammatory disease and, in turn, blocked fallopian tubes or ectopic pregnancy may result. In men, sterility is possible. According to healthyontario.
com, rates of STD infection are up 60 per cent since 1997, with girls between the ages of 15 and 19 incurring the highest rates. In 2003, 20,000 new cases of chlamydia were reported in Canada.
Isn't life great for women? They deny their biology one way or another. They diminish the need for a man to help them--even though they would like to be helped when it comes to motherhood--because a woman doesn't need a man. She can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and she better not be sad about the emptiness she might feel in her "freedom". Or a woman waits and waits but her ovaries can't be fixed by botox. They still get old. Her fallopian tubes can't deny the effect of multiple sex partners that gave her the STDs she didn't know about.

Fidelity and sex within marriage exclusively would solve this problem. Obeying God would solve this problem. The Bible says that the truths within make the simple wise. Even simple people, obedient to God's loving and protective rules are made wise. They stay married, they earn more, their children earn more and they are more likely to live productive lives.

H/T Instapundit

Friday, May 11, 2007

No More V-Tech Shootings

As usual the academy comes up with a perfect solution to disliked speech suggesting the right to defend oneself against a rampaging murderer.

The Fans

Baron Davis said tonight that when the home fans cheer he can "jump higher, run faster, it's like the floor is elevated." There is something about a group consciousness and the energy transfer to players. It's a real phenomenon. No one is touching. How is the energy passed?

I-Pod Lovers Beware

They may well interfere with pacemakers. Makes me wonder what it does to a healthy heart.

Brain Function and Morality

Yes, there's a link. Consider this as reported in the Wall Street Journal:

In particular, these people had injured an area that links emotion to cognition, located in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex several inches behind the brow. The experiment underscores the pivotal part played by unconscious empathy and emotion in guiding decisions. "When that influence is missing," said USC neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, "pure reason is set free."
Pure reasoning--isn't that what some hope for? Why wouldn't pure reasoning be a good thing--logic undefiled by those whimsical emotions? Women have been dismissed in the days of yore for being "too emotional". That criticism has been unjustified. Men are just emotional about different things and express it in different ways. They often aren't as nuanced in their expression. They still feel emotional.

So what happens when emotions are derailed by brain damage?

All told, they considered 50 hypothetical moral dilemmas. Their responses were essentially identical to those of neurology patients who had different brain injuries and to healthy volunteers, except when a situation demanded they take one life to save others. For most, the thought of killing an innocent prompts a visceral revulsion, no matter how many other lives weigh in the balance. But if your prefrontal cortex has been impaired in the same small way by stroke or surgery, you would feel no such compunction in sacrificing one life for the good of all. The six patients certainly felt none. Any moral inhibition, whether learned or hereditary, had lost its influence.

The effort to understand the biology of morality is far from academic, said Georgetown University law professor John Mikhail. The search for an ethical balance of harm is central to medical debates on vaccine safety, organ transplants and clinical drug trials. It colors political disputes over embryonic stem-cell research, capital punishment and abortion. It is the essence of much military strategy and the underlying logic of terrorism.

For Harvard neuroscientist Marc Hauser, the moral-dilemma experiment is evidence the brain may be hard-wired for morality. Most moral intuitions, he said, are unconscious, involuntary and universal. To test the idea, he gathered data from thousands of people in hundreds of countries, all of whom display a remarkable unanimity in their basic moral choices. A shared innate capacity for morality may be responsible, he concluded.

I'm curious about this phenomenon. I have friends who have been brain injured and have noticed their obtuseness socially. They don't seem to recognize when they hurt other people's feelings. And they are very pedantic. Those affected acknowledge that they have changed, but they also don't seem to recognize their own change.

Additionally, I feel that my own personality, and perhaps morality, too, has changed since enduring chronic stress. I feel sensitized to suffering, but also feel the need to shut it out. I wonder if war vets feel this way, too.

There is a law in health that chiropractors especially repeat often: Structure affects function and function affects structure. I don't see why it wouldn't be true with the brain.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

LG Washer and Dryer: A Review

On Monday, I called my husband at work and told him that the dryer died. We need a new washer and dryer sooner rather than later was the consensus. A few weeks ago I had warned him this might happen. The washer wasn't ringing all the water out and putting sopping clothes into an old dryer must have been stressful. After ten years of service, the washer and dryer, true soul-mates, died within days of one another.

So sad. For my bank account.

After slogging through reviews, I found epinions most helpful, (as an aside, who on earth has time to write reviews about their home products, oh, right...) here was the conclusion: No to anything Maytag and all other brands receive mixed reviews except for these new snazzy, front-loading contraptions that use a fraction of the energy, water, detergent but cost a lot more. Ugh. Must phone the hubby again. I don't like these phone calls. I find myself sounding like a David Oreck infomercial and my husband hates to be "sold". So I sell him anyway and he agrees.

Here's what I gleaned about washers and dryers:

  1. Make sure they both have stainless steel drums. Ceramic drums can chip and then rust.
  2. Make sure the dryer senses the dryness of the clothes. That saves energy.
  3. Don't pay extra for dryer features. They're bogus ways to jack up the price.
Off to Home Depot with armed with a little bid of knowledge and a lot of three kiddos. We buy this washer and this dryer. And dang blast it all, today online, there's a 10% of sale. Crud! Speaking of crud, the washer just whipped through one load of moldy towels (they've been sitting around for a week). It was whisper quiet. The clothes come out smelling and looking good.

The dyer was loud when I first put the towels in the drum. They banged everytime it turned--not loud, but louder than I hoped. This got better as the clothes got dryer. I am still a tad disappointed because my main criterion after size was sound. Between the washer and dryer, dish washer and refrigerator, there's a lot of ambiant sound in my kitchen and I like it quiet. Still, the dryer is quieter than the old one.

First load size:
  • Five oversized towels
  • Ten hand towels
  • Five wash clothes
I used Method detergent and softener, bleach and a Method dryer sheet, curious to know how everything would smell and feel if I went all out with wash products. Soft, clean and fluffy, like the commercials--model towels came out of the dryer.

The most exciting part? It was all so simple, a child could do it. And children will be doing it. Today. I tell you how that works, too. If they can use a search engine on the internet, they can wash their clothes at ages 8 and 10.

Oops, I forgot: My husband decided to try the dryer just to make sure it was really broken. He turned it on last night and he said, "See? Still working!" The words were half-way out of his mouth when the dryer made an exploding sound and knocked out. Bam! Nothin. The whole family sat at the dinner table laughing and he was laughing, too. "Well, I guess it's really broken." He said this as he pulled the plug gingerly out of the wall. Actually, I was happy for the little explosion. Had it still worked, I wold have been a tad upset about spending nearly $2,000 on a washer and dryer.