Thursday, June 28, 2007

President Bush Triumphs Over Harry Reid

The immigration legislation debacle will turn out one of two ways. If it goes through, President Bush will claim success and it will be the legacy of his presidency along with his response to terrorism.

If it fails, Harry Reid will take the fall and this, as Cap'n Ed shares, is why:

Let's recap, shall we? The bill came to the Senate originally through a self-appointed committee of Senators, bypassing the normal committee process where Senators can debate and amend proposals in a sane and rational manner. The "Masters of the Universe" wanted only four days of debate, but under pressure, Reid gave it eight -- but refused to allow more than a handful of amendments. The bill lost on cloture by 15 votes, a clear rejection of the arrogance of Reid's process.

So what did he do this time? He decided on an even more arrogant process, demanding that the Senate vote on a bill that had not even been provided to them. Reid used an unprecedented procedure, the "clay pigeon", and then set up the rules so that no one could offer any further amendments. He turned the world's greatest deliberative body into the In-N-Out Debate Society, a railroad job so complete that the only rational option to punish him for it is to shoot down cloture and embarass him publicly for it.

It looks like more Senators have come to the same conclusion. He needs 20 GOP Senators to join 40 Democrats to endorse his historically bad leadership, and I'm not sure he'll get either number. If anyone fathered this dead duck, it's the man who spawned the clay pigeon.
Everyone knows that illegal immigration reform is near and dear to President Bush's heart. He campaigned on it in 2000 and 2004. This legislation is important to him--not as political expedience.

Everyone also knows that Harry Reid's political instincts are political, never principled--unless you consider his survival instinct principled. If the legislation succeeds, his base will get angrier and more vocal and unlike President Bush, he will face reelection.

Illegal Immigration "In A Nutshell"

Blue Crab Boulevard:

And you wonder why we have a problem? People who are supposed to be officers of the court who ridicule the laws as mere paper. Advocates for illegal immigrants worried that the laws are being enforced and using the highly loaded - and ridiculous - term "intimidation". And greedy developers who want maximum work for minimum wage. And who have obviously been knowingly violating the laws for quite some time. Oh, and Senators who don't appear to care what the citizens of this country want - or in this case, don't want.
Mama said in the comments yesterday:
The reason why DC wants this bill is because corporations want it. The reason that the corporations want it is that the bill is set up to make it very easy for workers to come in and very hard for them to become citizens. So within a decade or two, they should have themselves a nice class of non-voting peasants who can never block them politically from importing even cheaper labor. It's a form of modern day slavery.
What about amnesty, though?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Best Quotes

John Hawkins has some quotes over at his blog that are worth reading. Here's a good one, and timely, too:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. -- John Stuart Mill
Now, some of my favorites:
I do not fear death--Aragorn, LOTR

The eyes bring to seeing what they wish to see.--Shelley

There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.--I John 4:18

There is no crying in baseball. --A League of Their Own

Death!--Rohirram at Pelennor Fields, LOTR

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;--Deuteronomy 30:19

I am no man.--Eowyn, LOTR

Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.--II Chronicles 20:17

This list could go on forever, but that's a start.

Life's A Bowl of Blueberries

I've been posting light--Vacation Bible School, relatives and what not. But Mama is on a roll this week. She has all sorts of insight into the SCOTUS decision about Campaign Finance (the reason McCain will never, ever get my vote). The "R" word is spoken--that's right America, you're in a recession.

And then there's the Blueberries. Which, by the way, I spent yesterday afternoon with my beloved children ad nieces and nephews blueberry picking. A thunderstorm was rolling in and the air cooled and we picked 42 pounds. It was meditative pulling those clumps of blueberries into the basket, hearing the bugs buzz. I plan on planting some bushes in my backyard.

Mama says that global cooling is happening and her proof is in the blueberries and some hard data.

Illegal Immigration, Amnesty, Duke & Poop

Republican Implosion: Lyndsey Graham writes Ace a love letter.

Creative Employment: A relative of mine calculated how much his supremely-loathed company paid him to "take a dump". This is much better.

Duke dreck: Nifong rationalizes. Broadhead gets awards--why does he still have a job? And I don't want to say "I told you so" but, I told you so. The press and faculty will hold, 'til their dying day the notion that the "Duke boys" were the criminals, because it is axiomatic that professors and journalists never get it wrong. Ever.

My point was to demonstrate that the Ms. Potters of the world will continue to malign three guys who are wholly innocent of crimes. Even exoneration won't stop them. The real criminals turn out to be the accuser and Mike Nifong, but the soundbite will be "Duke Rape", "Duke Lacrosse".
Immigration frustration: What an unholy mess this legislation is--Captain Ed investigates and Michelle Malkin has more. Ed Morrisey says:
POINT 6: Page 67, lines 7-11: 80% of all penalties paid by the applicants will come through installment plans. I understand the need for this, but it puts the federal government on the hook for managing a payment system for 12 million new people, along with all of the other mandates in this bill.

POINT 7: Page 69, line 20: The DREAM Act, providing scholarships for the children of illegal immigrants, still exists in the bill.

POINT 8: Page 89-90, lines 22-04: The 24-hour limit on background checks still holds within the Ag Workers section (the temporary guest worker program). If it takes longer than 24 hours, they get their credentials. (h/t: commenter Redherkey)

POINT 9: Page 92, lines 14-15: Do I read this correctly? The new limit on guest-worker visas is now 1,500,000 -- not counting dependent Z-A visas? Wasn't this originally 400,000 and reduced by half later?
Mickey Kaus covers the whole sordid spectacle in detail. I'm trying not to throw up in my mouth. If you desire to torture yourself and read it all, enjoy it here.

I have never seen the government so willfully not just misrepresent the people, but do precisely opposite what the people want. Hillary talks about a vast, Right-Wing conspiracy, but I feel that the American public is the victim of some sort of political-class conspiracy. It's surreal.

Or, is this bill just ego, when we get right down to it? These smarter-than-thou saviors so willing to cross the isle to work with each other have too much time and self invested in this legislation to let it go. And the President has his legacy and what not.

Is that all this bill is? A vanity vote?

Jeff Goldstein is excited:
64-35. Tom Tancredo — watching the proceedings from behind razor-wire twisted around his TV on the off chance a Jennifer Lopez movie slips through his hate filter — just threw up a little bit in his mouth.

Ironically, it tasted a teensy bit like refried beans.
Stanley Kurtz believes, as I do, that something worse than bad legislation is happening with this bill:
Senators who believe that by passing this bill they will at least be getting a divisive issue out of the way are making a serious mistake. This is not 1986. The immigration issue is far more prominent now, and it will only grow in importance. Demographics, and the problems of assimilation in a globalized world of satellite dishes and easy travel will see to that. Look at how votes on the war have come back to haunt Democratic politicians. Votes by legislators of both parties on this bill will be haunting them–and all of us–for years to come.

Supporters of this bill sell it as a compromise that will heal America’s divisions. I fear it’s quite the reverse. This bill is infuriating the public and undermining faith in government itself. You can see it in the polling on confidence in Congress and the President. If this bill passes, it’s going to aggravate and embitter politics for years to come. Passing a measure over such overwhelming opposition is like slapping the public in the face.

You can’t solve an argument by imposing a "compromise" on parties who don’t actually view it as a compromise. You can’t heal social divisions by forcing your version of a "solution" down the public’s throats. Real healing comes only when two sides reach what they themselves consider a valid compromise, or when one side wins the argument by persuading a clear majority of the validity of its case. Democracy does work, but first the Senate has got to give it a try.
On Saturday, I worried about the same thing:
I'm still trying to digest what it means when our elected officials trust the people to elect them but that trust evaporates when those same people don't support a bill they desire. What will the Congress and President lose for America by winning at this bill?
Last week Thursday, my concern was this:
Letting this bill go and enforcing current law and building a fence means having faith in the American people. If that's too big a pill to swallow, maybe elected officials can have faith in this: the American people remember at election time.

Finally, and on a completely different note, scientists are finding a way to turn plastic back into the oil it started out as. That could be good news for developing oil independence.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Doctors: It's All About Me, Me, Me

Rita Rubin reported in U.S.A. Today about a study where doctors conversations with their patients were recorded. Here's the conclusion:

Empathy, understanding and compassion work better than self-disclosure, the authors wrote. Personal conversation is important, Beckman says, but doctors need to find time for it outside of patient visits.

Says Jeffrey Borkan, Brown University family medicine chair, who invited McDaniel to talk about her study with residents and faculty: "People lose sight about where their boundaries are. The focus should always be on the patient."

Do you agree with this statement? Some doctors and patients implied that the study's investigators wants to find ways to force more patients through the office--it's not about patient care at all.

It has been my experience that rapport-building requires some give and take. I don't know a thing about my kid's pediatrician's personal life--except that she has three children. She is wonderful and competent.

We just went to the dentist and when he found out that I was a chiropractor he lamented his aching neck, told a funny personal story and laughed at himself. He also interacted kindly with the kids. I really, really liked him. He might have spent three extra minutes with us. Not much, but enough that I will definitely recommend people to go to him. He was just a nice guy. I'm not sure I would have felt the same way had he stuck to business and moved on mechanically.

I guess thinking through all our family's health issues, other than a God-complex here or there, most of the doctors struck the right balance. There was one pediatrician on-call who was rude, disrespectful and generally a jerk. He didn't strike me as the type of guy who had a satisfying personal life. I would never go to him again.

A doctor can be all about himself without interacting or with being a self-indulgent chatter-box. It seems to me the patient decides what kind of personality works best for him or her.

A doctor should
Never talk about himself or his views
Rarely talk about himself
Talk as much as he wants free polls

Monday, June 25, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard, Or Just Apathetically Let Freedom Slide Effortlessly From Your Disinterested Grasp.....It Used To Be Great

There's no livin' free in Europe these days. No one can watch Die Hard and even think about livin' free in Europe:

Yes indeed, two different titles for the same movie! I guess the "live free" part of the title was considered to be too sensitive outside of North America? I know that "Live free or die" is the state motto of New Hampshire, but that is hardly an excuse. A second difference is that The Statue of Freedom in the background on top of the U.S. Capitol is a lot closer to Willis' ear in the international version. Because the voice of freedom is much more faint?
There's no livin' free in Great Britain, either. Everyone is Salmon Rushdie according to Mark Steyn:
In 1989 Salman Rushdie went into hiding under the protection of the British police. A decade later he decided he did not wish to live his life like that and emerged from seclusion to live a more or less normal life. He learned the biggest lesson of all – how easy it is to be forced into the shadows. That's what's happening in the free world incrementally every day, with every itsy-bitsy nothing concession to groups who take offense at everything and demand the right to kill you for every offense. Across two decades, what happened to Rushdie has metastasized, in part because of the weak response in those first months. "Death is perhaps too easy"? Maybe. But slow societal suicide is easier still.
Maybe you think it can't happen here. It can happen. It is happening. Freedom gets taken away one little, subtle withholding of a point-of-view at a time. Guess which point-of-view PBS suppresses.

For a step-by-step manual on utopian socialist fantasies gone wrong, look to Venezuela (Via Fausta who has more excellent links). Daniel at Venezuela News and Views reveals this:
No more private property besides your personal belongings. That is, there will be some private sector allowed with business of reasonable size but the sate will have the right to expropriate or confiscate at will if it thinks it is necessary to its interests (NOTE: even if it is all made in the name of the "people", since it is the state that translates the "real will" of the people, well, you know which are the interests truly served).

The air borne media will have rights to emit only if they serve educative purpose. The state decides which are the educative goals.

The autonomy of Universities is done with. The state will be deciding which careers should be offered and which is the right curriculum to follow. You can decide on your own how creativity and free thought in a controlled university will prosper.

Decentralization will be done with. Governors and Mayors will be subordinated to special vice presidents. Mayors can be removed almost at will by the National Assembly. And anyway, elected Governors and Mayors will be gutted of most meaningful power they might have. That is, they will be left with picking up the garbage and be blamed for anything else that doe snot work.
Every day, people around the world trade their freedom for the proverbial bowl of soup. They sate their appetite for a day and spend a lifetime hungry.

Science gets subverted to serve political ends. Everything gets subverted for political ends and those doing the subverting do so to their own demise--they actually participate in their own destruction and only wake up when they too suffer outside of the increasingly narrow political correctness. They operate under the delusion that they will be spared. They will always be deemed correct. They are, of course, wrong.

How most excellent and honored and bureaucratic does this sound? United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yes, a bureaucracy of scientists obfuscating and outright lying to promote the notion of climate change. From Newsbusters:
That is terrible! As a matter of fact, it is a falsification of the data set. Why? Because they know the answer. And there you come to the point: They “know” the answer; the rest of us, we are searching for the answer. Because we are field geologists; they are computer scientists. So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don't find it!

Pretty extraordinary, wouldn’t you agree? A "correction factor." Honestly, the way these folks manipulate data is nothing less than astounding.

Yet, Mörner wasn’t finished, as he later detailed an incident when IPCC scientists actually destroyed evidence which refuted their rising sea level claims:

This tree, which I showed in the documentary, is interesting. This is a prison island, and when people left the island, from the '50s, it was a marker for them, when they saw this tree alone out there, they said, “Ah, freedom!” They were allowed back. And there have been writings and talks about this. I knew that this tree was in that terrible position already in the 1950s. So the slightest rise, and it would have been gone. I used it in my writings and for television. You know what happened? There came an Australian sea-level team, which was for the IPCC and against me. Then the students pulled down the tree by hand! They destroyed the evidence. What kind of people are those? And we came to launch this film, “Doomsday Called Off,” right after, and the tree was still green. And I heard from the locals that they had seen the people who had pulled it down. So I put it up again, by hand, and made my TV program. I haven't told anybody else, but this was the story.
Lying to protect a greater "truth" that the data shows is false. Political correctness has infected all branches of science. Tread very carefully within the hallowed halls of science. A rotting stench from the carcases of hard data fouls the air.

So a failing society seeks the easy economic way, turns science into tools for delusion, and neuters itself. And the bureaucracy does it. In this case, teachers do it. This is getting more play these days. Eric over at Classical Values has a must read post:
Decadent bureaucrats mutilate soldiers
"Decadence" is the essential condition of "a society which believes it has evolved to the point where it will never have to go to war."
--Air Force Colonel Robert Wheeler
How do you feel about the state forcing boys to become eunuchs, metaphorically speaking? (Although, all their literal sitting in a class, drugged and acting bland could be deemed literal.)
For obvious reasons, the picture on the left is not getting much mainstream media play. I can't think of a better way to expose the anti-war bureaucrats than the boys' simple demonstration that the school bureaucrats had wounded the troops. No words can match the eloquence of the bloodied bandages!

I wrote several posts about eunuchs, and I think this is as good a place as any to add a few words about Phil Bowermaster's post about transmasculinity, which Glenn Reynolds linked yesterday. I have no problem with the idea of transmasculinity (or androgyny), and don't think it is remotely the same as state-enforced policies forcing boys to become eunuchs.
I actually disagree with Eric about the fall of Rome not being associated with sexual morés. How did the military get weak and soft to begin with? Could the same denuded approach to society self-protection be related to a laissez-faire attitude toward individual self-protection? Could the Christian conservatism be a reaction to a decadent society and yet elements of Christianity--deceived and morally corrupt themselves-- participate in the downfall because of doctrinal misunderstanding (think Episcopalians)? I think so. I do agree with him here, though:
We don't have early Christians taking over as they did in Rome, nor do we have a eunuch staff running the military. However, I think there may be parallels between Christians and socialists in the ecological niche sense (Christian theology is often interpreted as having a soft spot for socialism, which IMO has caused a great deal of trouble), and I think we could be experiencing tyranny at the hands of the modern equivalent of eunuchs (people who abhor masculinity and femininity and who, while they may talk the talk about sexuality, are in reality a bunch of unattractive, "spineless, ball-less wimps" if I may borrow the phrase.....)
This is absolute truth. The neuterization of society, the declining birthrates, the unwillingness to set a boundary against anything manifests individually and societally. There is a lot of self-loathing and other loathing sexually, and that makes for a confused bunch of people willing to make terrible compromises to feel good about themselves. Back to the bowl of soup.

I do not think it's an accident that the United States hesitates to create a boundary in its relationships. There is no sense of American self--or there is a danger in losing what's left of one. There will eventually be nothing to protect. The United States will cease to be the strong arms the world can count on for protection, if those arms are so weak they can't protect themselves. Worse, they will be too weak to extend in welcome either.

It won't matter. Without freedom, liberty and justice (and all that other stuff), no one will want to come here anyway. America will be just like every other place in the world. Confused, unsafe, economically constricted, limited, petty, tyrannical, consumed by conspiracy theories masquerading as science. Dark. As in Dark Ages.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fred Thompson Hearts The Internet

The reason Fred Thompson loves the internet is simple: his message reaches his voters unadulterated. He can't be misquoted (he can, but everyone can check for themselves what he really said). The message is recorded for all posterity. The response, like the message delivery, is immediate. There is no news cycle. He can post a message at 2 a.m. and it will be read somewhere by someone and linked the next day and reach the masses.

He's in control.

Mr. Thompson wouldn't succeed in the internet written or video media if he was dull witted or boring. He wouldn't succeed if his messages were wonk-speak. He wouldn't succeed if his arguments were weak. So far, he's succeeding because he's none of these things. Just being willing to be so daringly active on the internet wins him points. What handlers can he blame when he's doing the writing and talking?

Not only that, the environmentalists should heart Thompson, too. He doesn't have to take three private jets to stump three states in a day. He can write his message in his boxers (or pajamas) in his bedroom and reach the world--for nearly free. How economical! How forward thinking!

That the other candidates carefully manipulate the internet medium, puts Fred Thompson in stark contrast. It makes me like him. Everybody's latest political crush is starting to look forced and reactionary. Hillary Clinton has always seemed a prune-short of good digestion--the internet is not conducive to that much constipation. Her YouTube entré was just plain weird with all the psycho-sexual overtones that Ann Althouse drew attention to. I know that the other candidates have a web-presence. One of my blog friends John Hawkins is helping the campaign of one Tom Tancredo.

But Fred Thompson has 'em all beat. So far, he handily wins the title of Blogger-in-Chief.

H/T Glenn Reynolds

Sub-Prime Hell

Business Week has an article Time to Give Up the House about how people who couldn't afford a house aren't paying their mortgage, they're paying their credit card debt.

Experian's study, released June 20, says that the share of subprime borrowers who were 30 days or more late on their mortgages went up from about 32% at the beginning of 2003 to around 36% at the end of 2006—a sign of increasing financial distress.

Yet those same subprime borrowers actually caught up on their credit cards over the same period. The share who were 30 days or more late on their cards fell from 32% to around 24% between early 2003 and late 2006. (That's for borrowers with Experian credit scores under 620; people with scores over 680 are considered prime borrowers.)

Little "Skin in the Game"

Fears of widespread fallout from subprime borrowing have spread in recent days. Early this year, it appeared that the troubles would be contained to relatively small lenders, such as NovaStar Financial (NFI), Accredited Home Lenders (LEND), and New Century Financial (NEW) (see, 2/22/07, "A Painful Hiss from the Subprime Balloon"). But in the past few days, Bear Stearns (BSC) has run into trouble with two hedge funds it manages that have taken on subprime exposure. That prompted a broad market selloff on June 20, with the Dow Jones industrial average down 146 points (see, 6/20/07, "Stocks Swoon on Subprime Fears").

So, now all the companies that lend to subprime people are suffering and the people themselves are suffering. There are a couple theories as to why subprime lenders react different than prime lenders:
  • They need the credit cards to survive so they pay them first
  • They know that foreclosure takes a while to proceed
  • They are paying their least expensive debts first
Obviously, these people are in over their heads. Obviously, lenders are losing what they thought was easy money. I know that banks will typically give you more than you can comfortably and realistically afford. It can be insidiously tempting to overspend on a mortgage for the house of your dreams. Subprime lendees who bail on their mortgages may not be good rental prospects, either. I don't know.

The upside of the mortgage insanity is that some people, who might not have perfect records have been given a chance at home ownership and made good on it. They are on their way to success.

Most of the people though, were sold on empty promises, and now, with bankruptcy laws more onerous, the suffering mounts.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Cesspool We Swim In--UPDATE

CBS News ended their article about abused and starved special needs Iraqi orphans thusly:

This is a tough test for the Iraqi government: How a nation cares for its most vulnerable is one of the most important benchmarks for the health of any society.

In the last week alone, I read that horrifying article and this one, too:
A team of international investigators infiltrated an Internet chat room used by pedophiles who streamed live videos of children being raped, rescuing 31 children and identifying more than 700 suspects worldwide.
In this latter example, children as young as two months old were raped, live, while men watched, on a streaming video across the internet.

And then, in Britain, there were 25 reported honor killings last year. And, abortions increased 4% to 193,700. Britain had approximately 700,000 live births. 2/7 babies aborted--29%. Does that number seem big to you? In America, approximately 1.3 abortions occurred with about 4.1 million live births. That's 32% of potential babies not living aka dead.

The above examples reveal how our society cares for the weak and defenseless. Our society is not doing much better with the able-bodied and gainfully employed. Over at Classical Values, Eric questions the morality of sucking off the taxpayer teat all the while receiving more respect than the person earning the salary (it's well worth reading the whole thing):
I've long been worried about a growing division between tax payers and tax eaters (the latter are now poised to become the voting majority). Common sense suggests that in general, the former tend to be more productive than the latter. In economic terms, this would make them more valuable (although private school teachers make considerably less than public school teachers, despite the fact that the former do a better job.)

But can such value be measured in moral terms? While it isn't my job here to make a moral pronouncement, in my half a century on the planet I have detected a significant moral shift. I can remember when living off government money without working was considered less than morally optimal, and being on the government payroll carried with it no special moral authority. Nor should it. Yet I have seen a growing tendency in some circles to see tax eaters (of all varieties) as morally better than the people whose taxes pay them. This makes no sense. It's not as if working for the government is like working for a religious order.

Society has degraded.

We place little value on the weak and infirmed. We have contempt for the smart and hard working. We minimize the importance of honesty and fidelity. We elevate the selfish and lazy. We honor the vapid and decadent.

In short, we're immoral. Not all of us, well, not all of us completely, mind you, but enough of us to make a difference. And it is making a difference. Society has changed. It is a harder, more cruel, crass and base place than even a decade ago. When I read the last graph of the sad story of the abused and neglected children in Iraq and read the sanctimonious tone of the author, I wondered not at Iraq's inhumanity to their most vulnerable. I wondered how long we can swim in the cesspool we're creating and not end up that inhumane ourselves. Worse, I wondered if we're already there.

UPDATE: There is a danger in worrying about the cesspool too much. One can come to believe that no one is trying to be good, no one works hard, nothing matters--so why try? This is not what I'm saying in this post. It's not what I meant to convey, anyway.

My motivation was the absolute shock and horror about how these children have been exploited. I can't help believe that our mean culture, our culture that condones the aborting of "mistakes" creates a place where it's not a leap to hurt children out of the womb. And then it's not a leap to hurt grown children. And then it's not a leap to hate oneself and everyone else. It's not a leap--it's a natural progression.

A softness, a kindness, a pleasantry, a graciousness, a forgiveness, a gentleness, all those traits needed to co-exist with our fellow man gets lost in meanness, impatience, brusqueness, blame, and harshness. When we so mar our own soul, we start believing that others are just like us. We become cynical.

There is a danger, too, in believing that being cynical is just being "realistic". For all the distressing world devlopements, there is still honor. We just have to look for it. The Anchoress talks about this, too, when noting the cynical responses to President Bush's heart-felt gift to the Pope. She says about herself:
A while back a friend teased me and called me “gullible” (which I confess I sometimes am), and in the course of enjoying his joke, I also wrote back, more seriously:
I decided a long time ago that cynicism - to which I was prone - was simply too easy and the refuge of the timid or the hurt. I made a conscious decision to take people at their words unless their behavior warranted differently, even if it did leave me open for some teasing about gullibility. I couldn’t stand myself when I was cynical.
Cynicism is really lack of faith. And faithlessness is a decision, just like having faith is a decision.

So while the world can be harsh and cruel, ultimately my hope is that we, as individuals, can examine ourselves and change what we can change. We are told to be in the world and not of the world. That can be a daunting proposition.

To much worrying, too much cynacism is not reality, though. Reality is faith that what is happening in the world today is part of a bigger plan. We see through a glass darkly.

Ultimately, we have dual citizenship--one in an imperfect fallen world and one in a world of perfection. For those who have that higher citizenship, cynacism really is never an option.

Health Care Reform--UPDATE

Supposedly, after Iraq, health care reform is the most important issue to voters. I'm not sure I buy that premise, but for the sake of this post, I'll go with it. Todd Zwillich over at WebMD enthuses about the reform possibilities:

Observers are hoping that the debate -- along with pressure from voters -- leads lawmakers and the next president to get serious about reforming the health care system.

Because, you know, it's accepted fact that this president and congress don't take health care seriously because observers like Todd say so. This kind of journalism irritates the stuffing out of me. But I digress.

Here is the mandate on health care reform:
Nearly four in 10 of those surveyed said they want to hear candidates talk about coverage shortages and the uninsured. Close to three in 10 said health costs were their No. 1 concern.
There is no question that health care needs to be addressed in the United States just like there's no question education should be fixed. President Bush's plan to get health care back into the hands of the individual by pushing for medical savings accounts was a good start. But like Education, there are so many interests attached to maintaining the status quo, most "solutions" will be bureaucratic and cause more problems.

My evidence for that premise is all our other state run health care "solutions".

UPDATE: I went and looked at what Dr. Helen had to say, thanks Anon. Here's a video she linked to. It's worth taking the ten minutes to watch.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Buzz Attracts The Thought Fuzz

Good grief, can't a blood-thirsty, Nascar lovin' necon get a moment's peace--especially when he's just got the new job of a lifetime? Alas, no. James Lileks is getting a little push back from the smarter-than-thou crowd, evidently. How dare an intellectual "righty" opinionate even when he keeps his politics out of his column? Really, how dare he hold moderate thoughts? Only mouth-foaming p.c.-ism aka leftism is right. I mean correct. Right? He says:

Right, left - the terms are useless nowadays anyway. There are statists, and there are individualists. There are pessimists, and optimists. There are people who look backwards and trust in the West, and those who look forward and trust in The World. Those are the continuums that seem to matter the most right now.
How about this? I'm an optimistic, forward thinking West-trusting individualist. I never thought of myself that way until James brought it up, but since we're categorizing.....

This makes me think about divisions. The base of the Left are angry as hell that the Democrats won't do what they want them to do--withhold funding for Iraq, pass a generous amnesty, increase taxes, use aborted fetuses to study stem cells, pass an equal rights amendment, cut back on defense spending, put children into school at three, legislate a green utopia. The Democrats know that the vast majority of the American public would mutiny if they did do any of these, otherwise it would have been done by now.

So, the above 3% of the electorate is enraged. Why are the other 94% so mad?

Let's see: Fighting a war with our hands tied behind our backs, spending like it's daddy's money, refusing to enforce the rule of law at the border, pushing amnesty, serving the powerful, forgetting the little guy.

While everyone agrees the government stinks, a few want solutions that no one else wants. The vast majority disagree. And no one is listening to them either.

But I digress. We're all reduced to parts and pieces now, I guess. That seems odd considering that the general public is of such one mind when it comes to certain problems facing the country--even when the press is hammering away with the opposite opinion.

These are strange times for our country. America is the most unified divided country ever.

Computer Geeks: Protect Your Spine--Update

I don't know why I haven't wrote about this, I am a chiropractor after all. Glenn Reynolds talks about the need to protect your spine using computers, especially notebooks. Here are some general thoughts, in no particular order.

  1. It is nearly impossible to sit ergonomically in bed with your lap-top on your lap. Trust me, I've tried. Here's a solution: sit in a comfortable chair and use this computer caddy, if you want to watch TV. Or, if you must, the caddy can also fit over your bed. Make sure your lumbar spine is very supported. The computer caddy has the added benefit of being able to hold a book and a drink or snack.
  2. Stay hydrated. Over the course of the day, the spine compresses and the intersegmental discs lose water and height. This changes the optimum spine curvature and increases load bearing on specific joints.
  3. When working out, do exercises that increase core strength. Yoga and Pilates, especially, are very good at this. The muscles to strengthen: abdominals, rhomboids, lats, posterior delts, hamstrings and glutials. Stretch the abdominals as well as strengthen them. This is a fantastic exercise, great for relaxation, too, that you can do at work.
  4. When working out, stretch these muscles: quads, pects (very important), internal rotators of the shoulder, wrist flexors and extensors, wrist supinators and pronators. There are specific exercises at the links. For the supinators and pronators, you'll need to modify the flexor/extensor exercises by rotating your wrists while maintaining flexor and/or extensor pressure. This will make sense when you look at the pictures.
  5. A big problem with prolonged computer use is forward head carriage. This is a posture where your neck or cervical curvature, is lost, the chin juts forward and the upper thoracic spine has a hyperkyphosis. Stretching pects, supporting the lumbar spine and having the computer at the proper level is essential. If you are hunching over your laptop, stop! The long-term damage can mean peripheral nerve damage into the forearms and hands--numbness, tingling, pain and eventually paralysis. An easy stretch is to tuck your chin, and place your hands the crown of the head and gently press your head down, to the left and to the right using your opposite hand.
  6. Get some whole body movement--swimming is fantastic because you're forced to use back muscles that get forgotten during computer use. Stretch out and do the back stroke. This swim style uses the exact opposite muscles that are repetitively strained during computer use and will help balance the body. Not to mention, your lungs will get opened up and worked out--an added benefit.
  7. Consider standing. Some laptop stands can be extended to standing height. This can really relieve the stress on your back and neck. Those with lumbar disc herniations should seriously consider this option because sitting puts more load on the lumbar spine than standing or laying down (on your back--don't lay on your stomach!). A cheaper alternative is to stand in the kitchen at the bar, if you have one. The problem is that the screen is lower than eye height, forcing the neck into flexion and pushing the arms out in front of the body. This is not a great long-term solution, but it is a way to have the body in another position besides sitting.
There is a temptation when someone is feeling pain to put heat on the joint. Avoid this temptation. If you have neck pain, get a bag of peas or corn and mold it around the neck while your head rests on a pillow. This will bring down the inflammation which is causing the pain. Do this a few times a day for no longer than 10 minutes at a time. Once the inflammation subsides, alternating heat and cold can promote healing.

Sarah Felicity has more recommendations. Her advice to get a good chair is worth noting. We use the Aeron chair both at home and the office and love it. Your butt breathes and you can adjust the chair to perfectly suit your size. If you live in Houston, email me, I have a connection to get them at a fraction of the price.

Oh! I almost forgot! How can I be a chiropractor and not recommend chiropractic? When you get in back trouble, look up a chiropractor who is trained in Applied Kinesiology. They are the best and brightest and specialize in balancing the musculature as well as the skeletal system.

Back injury is the #2 reason people miss work (#1 is the common cold). It is not worthy fooling around with a messed up spine.

More here on back injuries. More here on repetitive stress injuries.

One final note: People who enjoy their job (say those who pull on these all day) have far fewer RSIs. Stressed people are more likely to be injured (this holds more for women.)

Update: Thanks to Glenn for the link. Also, thanks for the idea. Sheesh! Some things are so obvious....

Duke Rape: "This investigation wasn't a mistake--it was malice."

Ann Coulter brings ups a great point:

This investigation wasn't a mistake – it was malice.

The media love to drone on about the explosive combination of "race and sex" – and they'll wait forever for a single non-hoax case to prove it! In fact, the truly explosive combination is "liberal" and "mediocrity."

Half-bright liberals think Hollywood fantasies are real life. And in Hollywood, conservatives like Rush Limbaugh are never fabulously rich and successful. Conservative Christians like Tom DeLay are never savvy, influential congressmen. And handsome boys from good families are never nice.

Nifong was supposed to look like Gregory Peck – not like Bob Wexler! But it's the lacrosse players who look like Gregory Peck.

Second-rate liberals who went to mediocre schools and married mediocre women are burning with jealousy from their nondescript, mediocre jobs. So they use their government jobs to attack their betters and sneer about the players' "daddies."

Like so much injustice in America, this whole sick spectacle was the revenge of the mediocre against the successful. Stupid and envious is a bad combo platter.
Ever heard of "townies"? I bet it was townies versus Dukies before it was black versus white or woman versus man. And under it all is envy. The Duke players will be something. They're disciplined. They're hard working. And they will be successful.

Mike Nifong, Crystal Magnum, and the Duke 88 will be notorious. By Hollywood standards, that beats real accomplishment any day.

H/T Conservative Grapevine

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

For Those Trying To Call And Wish You-Know-Who "Happy Birthday"

Our phone line is out until at least tomorrow. See here for more details.

You can reach me at 832- ha ha ha ha! Yeah, right! If you know me, you know where to call.

Harry Reid & Denethor--UPDATE, UPDATED AGAIN

Denethor: "Gondor is lost."

Harry Reid: "This war is lost."

Just watched the third LOTR, Return of the King again tonight and thought of Harry Reid as Denethor spiralled into madness.

By the way, we watched the moving using the Samsung DVD-R155 Tunerless DVD Recorderand I bought the Logitech Harmony 670 Universal Remote for the hubby for Father's Day. He's as triumphant as Aragorn being crowned king--except he's lounging on his bed and pushing one button on one remote to rule them all.

UPDATE: Sorry about the links. They're fixed.

UPDATED AGAIN: I'm not the only one thinking about Harry Reid and his delusional antics. Chris Lynch from a Large Regular thinks Reid more resembles Grima Wormtongue:

Grima Wormtongue was supposedly an advisor to King Theoden of Rohan but in instead he was working on behalf of Saruman. Really what Wormtongue was doing was working at feathering his own bed. Harry Reid is supposed to be public servant but other than Congressman William Jefferson no public official is seemingly more adept at making personal financial gains from what is supposed to be public service.
Chris has a point. He puts Reid's activities squarely in league with the enemy. Is Reid that far gone? Maybe. Or is he so consumed with power hunger and anger that he isn't, nor will he ever be all-powerful (Denethor was simply a steward, Reid is simply a Senator). In addition, he's dabbling into things he shouldn't while getting only part of the information and getting more despairing as he goes.

Hmm..... the more I think of it, the more I see nefarious motives by Reid. Denethor despaired where Grima connived. Would Reid be happy if the Enemy won against America? Maybe...right up until the point where he was under the boot himself, just like Grima.

Ya gotta admit, though, that the resemblance between Denethor and Harry Reid is striking.

H/T Betsy Newmark

Senate Democrats: Giving Power to the Powerful

Union bosses continue to lose power. The solution for all predatory beasts? Coercion. By forcing everyone to vote publicly, the evil leadership will know who to bully and worse.

Gotta love those Democrats. They love secrets. And yet they have no problem forcing the little guy to give up his right to voting privacy. So Democrats don't want transparent government. But they do want transparent voting that empowers the thugs who finance their campaigns.

Once again, it's not power to the people. It's power to the powerful. No wonder everyone hates Congress right now.

Pool Party

I was thinking that maybe we should get one of these to go with the pool. Whaddya think?

H/T Glenn

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Ten years ago tonight, like the night before it, my son Harrison woke me at around 2 a.m. insistently kicking me, not letting me rest. His kicking was so uncharacteristic--hard and unrelenting that I remarked to Steve, "Honey, I wonder if Harrison is trying to tell me something. I've read about mothers whose babies kick and kick and it's something wrong." He was reassuring, but I wasn't so sure. What did I know? I had never been pregnant before and no one I knew had been pregnant with twins. At twenty-four weeks five days along, my fundal height was 39 cms, I felt huge, I was huge, my back ached and it was happening. It was happening nearly four months too soon.

The next morning, my dog Winston (yes, for that Winston) stayed near me. He wouldn't leave my side. He knew. I was in denial.

By noon, after telling a friend, "I need to rest", I should have known. But that's the thing about denial, you deny. Finally, I groaned into the phone to my husband, "Come home. Now."

He tried to rub my back and I whispered the three classic words from transition, "Don't touch me.....please."(I try to be polite during childbirth--I don't want to be one of those women.) "Are you okay?" No I was not okay. Maybe you should call the ambulance. He did. As he tried to help me to the bathroom my water broke. And I broke. And I haven't been whole since. I never really was.

Two little babies were born at 750 and 820 grams. Harrison was the small one. Tough. A breather. And ultimately, a survivor.

He changed my life. He's still changing my life.

He loves music. He loves opera. He loves dance. Today, he took his first dance class. The steps were hard. He has trouble coordinating his body. He cried. And my heart was filled with pride. He works so hard to do what is easy for everyone else.

Harrison is a miracle. He should be dead. Technically, he died in the hospital. Twice. He should have kidney damage. He should be blind or at least have tunnel vision. He should be brain damaged. He should be unable to eat. He should be in a wheel chair. He should have asthma. He should be anything but what he is: a living, breathing, healthy boy who turns ten tomorrow.

Before bed he said,"Mom, I want to be a superhero."

They aren't, real, you know.

"They aren't?"

No, real people become heroes by doing heroic things--like fireman.

"Well, I want to dress up like Superman, even though he's not real."

Okay. Maybe for your birthday you'll get a superman costume.

For my super little man, I figure that a costume is the least we can do.

Nifong Still Acting Like A Man With Nothing To Lose

My daily stop over at KC Johnson's place left me incredulous. Mike Nifong tendered his resignation effective a month from now:

Instead, in a resignation letter that was publicly released just after noon, Nifong said that he planned to stay on for four more weeks, collecting more than $10,000 in salary and fortifying his pension.
The man acts like he has nothing to lose. He acts like he has lost nothing so far. Maybe he hasn't lost enough. In fact, I'm quite sure of it. In January, I said this:
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.

I'm not sure how to feel about Duke University settling with the three victims. Truthfully, I wanted blood, (I wanted to know how much each and every member of the Duke 88 would pay) instead, the university leadership decided to cover the potential liability of all the nefarious actions by the Duke 88. I just wonder how alumni feel about their money being used to cover the liability of ignorant, racist, sexist professors. If ever an institution seemed ripe for a house-cleaning, it is Duke. Doesn't look like that will happen. And those professors are oh, so uncharacteristically quiet. At least there's that.

The biggest concern coming out of this case is the power of prosecutors. That is the issue that needs to be addressed in North Carolina and everywhere. From the Charlotte Observer:
And North Carolina prosecutors have too much power. They can set the dates of trials. They can in effect shop for judges. They even can avoid preliminary hearings to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with charges, by going directly to a grand jury to bring charges.

U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat, a Duke Law School graduate, recently explained how N.C. prosecutors' control of trial dates also means judges are not assigned to cases, but to courtrooms on specific dates. Thus no judge was in control when Mr. Nifong was busy tainting the jury pool and prejudicing the case against the players. Prosecutors, Judge Tjoflat said in a recent speech, "don't do what he did unless they are absolutely confident that the court will give them free rein." That must change.

Fortunately, the defendants' families were wealthy enough to hire the best lawyers. Those lawyers discovered Mr. Nifong had not turned over evidence clearing the players. The State Bar saw this pending miscarriage of justice and filed ethics charges against Mr. Nifong, in effect moving him out of the case and allowing the attorney general to take over.

In this case, the system did not work. It failed the players, the state of North Carolina and the public interest in truth and justice. Legislators must learn from this situation and rein in the power of a prosecutor to run roughshod over justice.
This problem exists everywhere from one extent to another. The whole legal system has come under suspicion. Hopefully, Mike Nifong will be a catalyst for at least some small good.


So my sprinkler system is being put in when the yard guys cut the phone/DSL line. SBC has become AT&T, and if I understand the new commercials right, is now Comcast (Update: Nope, that would be my suck-bag cable company. See below).

Whoever owns the cursed phone company gave me twenty minutes of automated prompts before sending my phone call somewhere else. When I finally got a live human being I was steamed. To add insult to injury, the line was fuzzy and I could barely understand my potential helper. His mumbling and apathetic attitude did little to lighten my mood so I let him know my displeasure (after he wrote the repair order, that is).

He ends the call this way: "Well, I hope you have been happy with the service AT&T gave you today". Did he hear what I just said?

Wondering how I'm on the internet while typing away on my laptop at home? I could tell you, but I'd have to shoot you.

UPDATE: Well, I'm not the only one suffering in information services HELL (no sign of the AT&T people, looks like it will be a full 48 hours before they can get here to connect the line--still enjoying the lack of phone calls, except that it's my son's birthday and no one can get through, ARGHHH!). Brendan Loy laments Comcast and Glenn Reynolds is doing the same. Brendan says:

Oh yeah, and 8) even to this day, after two visits from techs, numerous phone calls, and a whole lot of independent effort on my part, the digital cable signal still isn’t working properly. Long story, not worth explaining in detail here, but basically, although we can watch TV, it’s not working the way it’s supposed to, and our TiVo experience is suffering as a result. I haven’t yet summoned the energy to call Comcast (which is always an adventure) yet again, and try to get it fixed, because frankly I have better things to do with my time than deal with their incompetence. But that doesn’t mean I’m not annoyed about it.
Don't get me started on cable. I bought during a TiVo promotion thing where a digital recorder was included with the rental agreement for a year. I put in the order for Steve's birthday in February--guess what? No digital recorder. It's June.

I hate the phone company.
I hate the electric company.
I hate the cable company.
I hate all utilities companies.

They all suck. That tells me there is not enough competition in the market-place. They're acting like the U.S. Mail Service or DMV. Bureaucratic hell.

And we can "blame evil Comcast" for not having the pleasure of reading Betsy's Page over the weekend.

Will bloggers' voices be heard and help revolutionize the bloated companies or will bloggers end up being blamed (ala Trent Lott and the Senate) for having the nerve to high-light the problems.

UPDATED AGAIN: I swear it's in the air. Seth Godin shares his frustration with AT&T's online support--the support that the phone service was so intent on me using instead of a live person. Bad customer service by design? I think so, yes.

Destroying the Veneer of Civilization

Did the Palestinians ever have the veneer? Victor Davis Hansen says:

So now the outgunned Fatah gangsters are suddenly crying about the uncivilized evils of looting, gangs, and random killings. Just as Thucydides warned about insurrectionists destroying civil society, so Fatah once erased civilization's protocols on the presumption that no one else would dare do to them what they routinely did to others. How bizarre that Arafat's followers of all people are reduced to appealing to international norms of decency and legality to avoid their utter destruction in Gaza by Hamas.
And for those who like to play with civilizations foundation:
What lies behind this abject hypocrisy of first undermining civilization and then demanding that it reappear in the hour of need?

Double standards depend on demanding from United States and Europe a sort of impossible perfection. When such utopianism is not--and never can be--met, cheap accusations of racism, colonialism, and imperialism follow. Such posturing is intended to con the West into feeling guilty, and, with such self-loathing, granting political concessions, relaxing immigration, or handing over more foreign aid. Left unsaid is that such critics of the West will always ignore their own hypocrisy, and, when convenient, destroy civilized norms while expecting someone else to restore them when needed.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Autism: No Such Thing As A Big Tent Approach

Autism is a money pit. No treatments are really proven. The best medical treatments out there include applied behavioral analysis and it's only effective in 50% of the children therapized. And it is expensive.

Parents desperately try one treatment after another hopeful that something, anything, will help. Sometimes certain treatments do help. It is not surprising then, that one of the biggest autism charities is crumbling within along family lines because of vastly different philosophies.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nifong Falls In Disgrace & The Duke 88 and Media Share In It UPDATED

From Lane Williamson:

When I think back to those early days in the spring of last year and we think of how public opinion was so overwhelmingly against these defendants and you think of the public aggravation that they suffered and then you look at how the truth came out slowly in small increments and look at the situation now as to what public opinion is there is a 180-degree turn. And those who made a rush to judgment based upon an unquestioning faith in what a prosecutor had told them were made to look foolish and many still do look foolish.
Who knew that urbane writers like Duff Wilson and elite educators like the Duke 88 could be made to look so foolish. The self-deception Mike Nifong indulged, the media and most of the academy indulged in, too. And still, like Nifong, no humility, no grace--not even from Nancy Grace the supposed champion of victims.

Mike Nifong damaged an already hurting legal system. He unwittingly revealed a weakness in the system. An unchecked prosecutor can be a terrifying beast, indeed. KC Johnson says this:
Finally, it’s worth considering two cautions expressed by Jim Cooney in the post-hearing press conference. Though the case ended as it should—with the AG’s declaration of actual innocence and Nifong’s disbarment—this was a very close call. First, the defense demanded and then closely examined Meehan’s underlying DNA data not as a matter of course but only because the DNA was the only evidence even remotely implicating Brad Bannon’s client, Dave Evans. Had Mangum picked a lacrosse player other than Evans, the DNA conspiracy might have passed unnoticed. Second, the State Bar’s grievance committee voted to charge Mike Nifong with ethics violations by a mere one vote, with grievance committee chairman Jim Fox casting the tie-breaking vote.
This was a close-call for these young men. The cause of justice seemed to hang by a thread throughout the process.

If the defense attorneys hadn't been meticulous, if Meehan hadn't revealed Nifong under examination, if dogged journalists like KC Johnsom hadn't pursued the truth, I fear that this case would have ended predictably. With so many like the Duke 88 and Mike Nifong sticking to the delusion until the bitter end, how could anyone hope for justice?

Some criminals won't be prosecuted because of the judicial distrust Nifong fomented and some innocent victims will remain free because people will be slower, to rush to judgment. At least, that's my hope.


Scott Johnson from over at Powerline says:
It is a remarkable fact of the Duke case that the legal profession has acquitted itself with greater honor than the professoriate.

Happy Father's Day: The Importance of Dads

How important are fathers? I can think of no more important person in a child's development along with his mother of course, than a father. Here's some of what fathers do:

This research can never capture a father's worth. The longing of a child for a father who loves him is nearly impossible to fill by anything else. Many a desperate person has sought to fill that need with an artificial substitute.

A good father matters. Here's to the good fathers. Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

By the People, For the People

I'm still trying to digest what it means when our elected officials trust the people to elect them but that trust evaporates when those same people don't support a bill they desire. What will the Congress and President lose for America by winning at this bill?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Number 79

Even though one of every 25 posts is health related, I ranked No. 79 on eDrug's Healthcare 100 list of bloggers. Yeah, baby!

Reade Seligmann: How Am I Going To Tell My Mom?

Mike Nifong resigns:

"Whatever mistakes I made in this case are my mistakes"--though not the mistakes of which the Bar has accused him.

"My community has suffered enough." His actions in the case were "honorably intended but had unforeseen consequences.

Apologizes for his actions causing pains to the three families (as he continues to mispronounce the name of the Seligmanns). [notes by KC Johnson]
If you want to see more Nifong, you can watch here.

Reade Seligmann breaks down when he discusses how it felt going through this ordeal. I know these boys have been through the ringer, but I keep thinking of their mothers. How have they managed this?

Jessica Alba: "I'm American"

Well, duh!

But I guess that's not acceptable to say to the multi-culti p.c. crowd who demand that this non-Spanish speaking, third generation American woman embrace her Mexican-ness. She notes that no one talks about Cameron Diaz's Latino-ness because she's blond. Alba's right. It's the multi-culturists who divide people by race, color, language, culture and ethnicity.

No melting-pot, America is more a vegetable stew with every ingredient screaming for recognition.

So many of my multi-ethnic friends lament the assumptions--they look dark-haired and have honey skin, so they must speak Spanish. Personally, I'd like to be multi-lingual and speak Spanish, but why should it be assumed? Alba drew ire from "Queen of All Media " Cuban-American (not just American) blogger Mario Lavandeira, aka Perez Hilton for saying this:

"My grandfather was the only Mexican at his college, the only Hispanic person at work and the only one at the all-white country club. He tried to forget his Mexican roots, because he never wanted his kids to be made to feel different in America. He and my grandmother didn't speak Spanish to their children. Now, as a third-generation American, I feel as if I have finally cut loose."

"My whole life, when I was growing up, not one race has ever accepted me, ... So I never felt connected or attached to any race specifically. I had a very American upbringing, I feel American, and I don't speak Spanish. So, to say that I'm a Latin actress, OK, but it's not fitting; it would be insincere."

"My grandfather was the only one in our family to go to college. He made a choice not to speak Spanish in the house. He didn't want his kids to be different."
Alba's grandfather is part of a long American tradition. My husband's Italian great-grandmother refused to speak Italian. She was an American. She chose, and was grateful for, America. And in America, you speak English.

Our Hindu Indian neighbor decorates his house for Christmas every year even though it's not part of his religious practice. He said that Christmas lights were American and he wanted to be American.

While I would happily teach my children their language of origin, what's wrong with embracing America and it's culture? This culture was deemed superior to the one they left, otherwise, why come to America?

More: Wendy Wayrad says Alba is "shaming her own people".

"Jessica Alba is gradually making the queer transition from sex symbol to self-loathing, Mexican sex symbol." --Mollygood

And this racist rant, "Will Someone Tell Jessica Alba She's Not White" This intelligent post ends thusly:
If she doesn’t wanna be called a “Latin actress,” what the eff should I call her besides stupid?!
You could call her "actress". You could call her "American actress" if you want to be really edgy. Boots and Sabers says:
That’s how it’s supposed to work. You come to this country legally. You work our ass off and assimilate into the culture.
How long until the Left will let go of the one-drop rule?


Welcome, Conservative Grapevine readers! Thanks, John, for the link. You might also like to see Harry Reid's twin separated at birth. They share mental characteristics, too. And, in honor of Father's Day, some research about why dads are so important.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More on Illegal Immigration--UPDATED

Ugh! Can you stand it? I am compelled to post again about this divisive subject (divisive to the 20% of Americans who support this bill--I actually think the "divisive" meme is put forth by those few who want this bill to make it seem like more people actually support it). Victor Davis Hansen says it better than I ever could in his post "Who's Illiberal on Immigration?" Go read the whole thing. He says:

So, what is the truth on illegal immigration?

Simple. Millions of fair-minded white, African-, Mexican- and Asian-Americans fear that we are not assimilating millions of aliens from south of the border as fast as they are crossing illegally from Mexico.

In the frontline American Southwest, entire apartheid communities and enclaves within cities have sprung up whose distinct language, culture and routines are beginning to resemble more the tense divides in the Balkans or Middle East than the traditional melting pot of multiracial America.

Concern over this inevitable slowdown in integration and assimilation is neither racist nor nativist. It grows out of real worry that when millions of impoverished arrive in mass without legality, education and the ability to speak English, costly social problems follow that will not be offset by the transitory economic benefits cheap wages may provide.

Those fretting about delays in sealing the border along with proposed fast-track visas, millions of new guest workers and neglect of existing immigration law are neither illiberal nor cynical.

But their self-righteous critics may well be both.

UPDATE: In "The 'Popular' Immigration Bill", Debra Saunders notes how the press push forward a favored point of view, conviently avoiding the facts:
That fact gets in the way of the pet media narrative: Popular pro-immigrant bill torpedoed by what the Los Angeles Times called a "vocal minority." A Sunday New York Times story explained how grassroots conservatives toppled the measure, even though: "Public opinion polls, including a New York Times-CBS News Poll conducted last month, showed broad support among Americans for the bill's major provisions."

What a crock. If this bill were popular, then Washington would have passed it in a heartbeat. If the bill were popular among Democrats, as bill supporters suggest, then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would be pushing for another vote, instead of daring President Bush to champion the measure.

And here's something the New York Times story forgot to mention: Its poll also found that 69 percent of Americans think illegal immigrants should be prosecuted and deported.
Gah! I'm not one of those people favoring rounding up and deportation (except for criminals), but it is interesting to note that I would be considered moderate on the immigration issue if you go by numbers. Still, I and those like me, am being painted, using John McCain's words, as "irrational and emotional." Who is name-calling, again?

At this point, I'm anything but emotional about illegal immigration. Time and civilized debate have clarified my position. Reading the guts of the legislation made my stance easier to commit to.

The government just can't seem to solve things by making them easier. It's always more convoluted, more complicated, and more difficult. This bill has a couple benefits--for them.
  1. People can't possibly comply with the law, so there's another way to hang daggers over the populace (employers, illegals, regular citizens) to be dropped at will.
  2. People can't possibly equitably enforce the law, so the immigration officials, police, and other "enforcers" lean to a laissez-faire attitude. Enforcement gets them into too much potential trouble, plus there are more dangersous criminals to apprehended. Dealing with illegal criminals will be avoided because they cause more trouble for the enforcers. Society gets less safe.
But the business interests in the country will have cheap labor. And the politicians will get another group of voters. So it's a win-win for them!

And the voters say "no". Overwhelmingly, they say "no". Enforce the border, then we'll talk. Congress and the Executive branch have a credibility problem: no one believes they will do what they say they will do. So, dear leaders, prove us wrong. Enforce the border. It will change the debate to your favor. Charles Krauthammer says:
Why am I so suspicious about the fealty of the reformers to real border control? In part because of the ridiculous debate over the building of a fence. Despite the success of the border barrier in the San Diego area, it appears to be very important that this success not be repeated. The current Senate bill provides for the fencing of no more than one-fifth of the border and the placing of vehicle barriers in no more than one-ninth.

Instead, we are promised all kinds of fancy, high-tech substitutes -- sensors, cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles -- and lots more armed chaps on the ground to go chasing those who get through.

Why? A barrier is a very simple thing to do. The technology is well tested. The Chinese had success with it, as did Hadrian. In our time, the barrier Israel has built has been so effective in keeping out intruders that suicide attacks are down over 90 percent.

Fences work. That's why people have them around their houses -- not because homeowners are unwelcoming, but because they insist that those who wish to come into their domain knock at the front door.
Letting this bill go and enforcing current law and building a fence means having faith in the American people. If that's too big a pill to swallow, maybe elected officials can have faith in this: the American people remember at election time.

Harry Reid & The Pack of Liberal Misrememberers

What I find interesting about Harry Reid's utterly predictable bilge to a sympathetic audience (covered in detail by Captain Ed) is not that he said what he ostensibly believes (anyone or anything associated with Bush is "incompetent" in his book, I'd guess, even if he did recently give his own stamp of approval to General Petraeus), but that the paragons of virtue in the leftosphere were so willing to confabulate to cover for their fearful leader. Makes me think that all their "Bush lied!" talk is pure projection--you know he who smelt it dealt it.

Greg Sargent got some on-the-record recollections from some of the best and brightest on the left:

We asked Joan McCarter, who blogs at DailyKos under the name McJoan and wrote about being on the call here, if she recalled Reid calling Pace "incompetent."

"I don't remember him saying anything like that," she answered. "I can't swear he didn't say it. But I have no memory that he actually did. It's not in my notes."

Asked if Reid had disparaged Petraeus at all, McCarter said: "No. He said something about [Petraeus] coming back in September to deliver a report." But on the question of whether he'd said something disparaging, McCarter said: "Not that I recall, no."

"I don't even recall Pace's name specifically being mentioned," adds Barbara Morrill, who blogs at Kos under the name BarbinMD and says she was on the call. "If it was, he did not say that he was incompetent."

Asked if he'd criticized Petraeus, Morrill said: "Not that I recall. I checked my notes," and there was nothing like this. "He mentioned the report that Petraeus is supposed to be coming out in September. I only recall him saying something along the lines that the Bush administration had run the war poorly. Any criticisms were against the Bush administration."

Finally, here's what MyDD's Jonathan Singer, who wrote about the call here, told us: "I don't remember him calling Pace incompetent." He added that while he couldn't promise that he hadn't done it, "I just don't recall those statements."
Good thing none of them got subpoenaed by Patrick Fitzgerald. One would think they would be more merciful.

It turns out that Josh Bresnahan of The Politico was right in his reporting this morning. Harry Reid said exactly this (and the linked post titled "The Politico Fails Journalism 100" would be called condescending rationalization, aka "tone"--that's learned in Journalism 101):
“I guess the president, uh, he’s gotten rid of Pace because he could not get him confirmed here in the Senate… Pace is also a yes-man for the president and I told him to his face, I laid it out to him last time he came to see me, I told him what an incompetent man I thought he was.”…
Taken in context, though, Reid meant this helpfully. Really. Glenn Reynolds says:
Most likely, those sorts of statements just don't make much of an impression with the netroots. Which is ironic, since Reid probably made them for their benefits.
How charitable, Professor Reynolds. Somehow I doubt the netroots would be nearly as kind should you have so misremembered a conversation with Karl Rove.