Friday, November 30, 2007

Female Circumcision Ban A Sign of Cultural Imperialism

Or female circumcision (a euphemism if there ever was one) could just be a barbaric butchery designed to forever rob a woman of sexual enjoyment. And yet, there are those who will defend it:

Dr. Ahmadu, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago, was raised in America and then went back to Sierra Leone as an adult to undergo the procedure along with fellow members of the Kono ethnic group. She has argued that the critics of the procedure exaggerate the medical dangers, misunderstand the effect on sexual pleasure, and mistakenly view the removal of parts of the clitoris as a practice that oppresses women. She has lamented that her Westernized “feminist sisters insist on denying us this critical aspect of becoming a woman in accordance with our unique and powerful cultural heritage.”
You know, Dr. Ahmadu is welcome to go to Sierra Leone, that bastion of culture and progressive thought, to get the procedure. Heck, I don't care if she goes to the local cosmetic surgeon and turns her body in Michael Jackson. That's her right.

But this procedure is forced on girls. Children, who have no consent in the matter. And don't bring up male circumcision, please! At least there are medical benefits to that procedure and it doesn't interfere with a man's pleasure.

I'm glad the woman enjoyed the procedure. Great, for her. But making this legal is a way to degrade women as children and society should stand against that.

Music Downloads for 2007

Like books, my taste in music is rather eclectic. My recent downloads from iTunes have included everything from Justin Timberlake to Rostropovich. It was cheaper to buy all of Rostropovich's Bach cello solos, so I did that. He's better than Yo Yo Ma in my opinion, or at least equally as good. He's also a composer himself.

Justin Timberlake got the pick and choose treatment. He writes the best revenge songs--he has a knack for capturing the feeling of longing and anger simultaneously with a dash of schadenfreude thrown in. I like What Goes Around Comes Around.

There's some Johnny Cash. The kid's favorite is A Boy Named Sue.

The best version of Silent Night is actually covered by Five for Fighting. You absolutely MUST listen to it. Like unto it, is Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. It's backed by a ukulele which is quite possibly the most under appreciated instrument ever. Well, that and the accordion. Oh, and I like Josh Groban's treatment of O Holy Night (although he bugs me generally).

Alicia Key's new album is great. Her voice sounds somewhat strained this time around. I hope she's protecting her voice. I like No One and Lesson Learned.

It was interesting to note that Journey is still in the top 100 on iTunes. I have their greatest hits. For all the complaining by musicians, I have to believe that they're making money they wouldn't have before. I am the perfect example of a consumer unwilling to buy a whole CD for one song, but have regularly used iTunes. I don't want to steal. I want choice. So there are some older artists I listen to now like Queen, Bon Jovi, Van Halen and some other big hair bands. Why not? They're fun and get the blood pumping. Oh, and pretty much anything by Prince. My brother and I argued about I Would Die For You. To me, it's the story of salvation and sacrificial love for our fellow man wrapped up in R&B. To him, it's Prince' narcissistic tendencies writ large. It's probably both and reminds me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Poor Amy Winehouse, such a talent is so rare and she's killing herself with heroin. It's sad. She addresses her pathology best in Back to Black which is better than the more popular Rehab.

Michael Bublé is great for a dinner party playing behind witty and incisive conversations. I like his version of Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow and of course, Home. My favorite version of Little Drummer Boy is by Bob Seger. The contrast of his gravelly voice with the sweetness of the topic is just well, light-hearted. When he belts out, "I was a poor boy, too", I'm reminded of Jesus' precarious beginning and outsider status.

Speaking of 80's music.... We weren't, but I'm going back to it for a minute. The best bedroom song ever is Sign Your Name Across My Heart by Terrence Trent D'Arby. Enjoy!

For your listening pleasure:

Best Books 2007 & Other Books, Too

For those who are interested, here's the New York Time's List of Best Books for 2007. Haven't read a one of them. I just don't have much time for fiction. I'm rereading Lord of the Rings right now, just because it's enjoyable after a long day.

A book I recently read was The Year of Living Biblically. It's excellent and I highly recommend it for anyone across the faith spectrum.

I'm still slogging through the works of G.K. Chesterton. His books cause profound bouts of reflection which slows things down.

I also read the book How to Read Literature Like a Professor. My lit prof in college was not the best, and I didn't pay much attention to the material anyway (he made terrific stuff bland) and I thought I'd go back to the basics. This book is excellent. You know, intuitively most of it anyway, but it's just a nice, quick tutorial in the art of reading and enjoying a book.

Of course, I read Mark Steyn's book America Alone. He's an engaging writer, funny as heck, and his insights inspire contemplation. It's a great book for a political junkie.

I finally finished The 48 Laws of Power which should be on every leader's desk. Business people will enjoy it. It's a good bathroom book, in that the lessons are broken down. A business person could get a daily dose of Machiavellian wisdom.

Again, for understanding how Islamism is changing London, I read Londonistan. Short take: London has changed and the change isn't good.

Because women's issues as it relates to child bearing interests me, and because I think the way the medical system approaches pregnant women and their partners is completely whacked, I read Naomi Wolf's book Misconceptions. Meh. It was okay. She lays out well the experience of typical birth and why it can be so traumatizing for a self-aware, intelligent person. Birth is something that gets done to you at a hospital. But, drugs are good.

Going through this makes me realize that I haven't done much neurology reading and that's different. Usually, I read something in the field. Ah well, I've read all of Oliver Sack's books except his new one Musicophilia. I did see a PBS documentary (PBS, I think) about what he's been up to lately and it involved piano players. I keep up with him because he is friends with Temple Grandin a woman with Autism who has revolutionized, single-handedly, slaughter houses and for the better. Because of her needs for calming, she translated a similar system for cows. She's a fascinating woman. Her books, too, are worthy reading. I met her and talked briefly with her at an Autism conference. Anyway, Oliver Sacks has written beautifully about neurological disorders. And I recommend any of his books. Oh! I notice that Temple also has a new book out. It's got great reviews. Hmmmm..... Perhaps a gift for myself.

A relative told me that The Secret is "the best book ever". Well, I read it and that may be a bit of an over statement since I can tell you in one sentence what the book is about: We tend to attract what we think about. Many people think that notion is crap otherwise they'd be married to a Marilyn Monroe look-alike. But there is a grain of truth in there--we reap what we sow. Do we know what we're sowing? Becoming more mindful of what we're creating for our life makes for a better life. There! Now you don't need to read it.

My least favorite book was Augusteen Burrow's book Running With Scissors. And the movie was worse. Maybe that was longer than a year ago. Anyway, I didn't find his traumas and abuse either endearing or funny. It was more disturbing and sad. Too much of that in the world. Don't need to read it.

I think I'd be remiss if I didn't include some of the reading I do online. My reading habits have changed somewhat. Instead of magazine articles, I often read online. Two of my favorites are Scientific American and New Scientist. Keep in mind, I have as much skepticism about the scientific realm as I do about the religious realm. One particularly egregious set of conclusions from research prompted me to write the authors of the study. I actually hope it helped their research, because they were missing the obvious. My point being, that conclusions change in science but it's nice to see what's going on.

For on-line reading I like Popular Mechanics, too, but don't get as much time over there as I'd like. It's fun watching them blend stuff, though. And you should read this article men AND WOMEN.

Otherwise, regular readers know my favorite Bloggers. The Socratic corner gets a peek every day. The Experts get visited weekly, usually. I'm busier now and that's made my blogging a distracted experience.

Please share any book recommendations in the comments. And I know I've read more than this, this year, I just can't remember them all.

French Style Justice

A friend is raped and murdered by a recidivist Turkish immigrant in France where self-defense is frowned upon even by Sarkozy. Paul Belian relays this story:

Shocked by the savage murder of our dear Anne-Lorraine [Schmitt, a journalism student who worked as an intern at the Valeurs Actuelles magazine], aged 23, a friend rang me: “We should demonstrate, burn down Turkish mosques…”
Maybe Paul should get that rocking and rolling. Burning things seems to be a language the French government understands.

Governments embrace anarchy and invite vigilantism when justice is deferred or never comes. I fear this backlash in Europe. The populace, weary at the effects of multiculturalism may solve their problems in their own way. Mark Steyn obliquely refers to this possibility but Claire Berlinski actually lays out the risk.

Restricting speech and denying justice (like sefl-defense) won't stop a swing of the pendulum. It will accelerate it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Multiplying My Troubles

I've been relatively silent about home schooling mainly because we've been humming along, thinking deep thoughts and generally grooving on the togetherness, man. This week has brought more irritation than most and I'm not sure if it's hormonal or ants-in-pants or some combination of the above.

I'm feeling pressure to plow through the curriculum, to keep us on time, with the holidays quickly approaching. Most other home schoolers don't seem as compulsive as I am and their serene Zen quality kinda freaks me out. Don't you people realize that the future of your child is built one day at a time! Well, of course they do, they're just further along the road than I am and more experienced.

Today's placidity is being rippled by learning a new and difficult concept. Both kids are in tears which hardens my stance. This is math, not the Sudan. Why don't they have some perspective? I suppose I was frought over multiple multipliers when I was eight but I don't remember it and really don't care. This idea must be burned into the hard drive, or else. Or else math, for the rest of this year will be hell. Today the hard work of laying the challenging foundation must be laid and it's being bought with a price. My nerves are shot and their emotions are frazzled.

Zealous home schoolers and public schoolers and private schoolers rarely honestly assess the negatives of their choice. Home schooling while lovely (three months and were still relatively happy!) has it's drawbacks. In fact, it was the main one I was concerned with: time for me to think and do something for myself. Children are greedy little beings and would prefer non-stop, 24-hour interaction from their parents.

So, I'm happy overall but I need to figure out the rest of this balance thing. My answer today will be National Geographic TV watching in the afternoon. Educational and peace for me. Hopefully.

Golden Compass Blues

Few movies or books have generated more desperate emails from concerned conservative friends than the Golden Compass. The last time I saw this intensity was when the Da Vinci Code came out as a movie. I had already read the book. It was clearly fiction to me--fantastical and hardly grounded in sound doctrine or history. The premise was intriguing and the book was a fun read. My faith wasn't shattered. I doubted few others would be either.

Now comes the Golden Compass. In this case, I haven't read the books, but plan to. Some put books with questionable content in the same category as porn--detritus that will pollute and confuse the mind. And while I grant the idea that the "dark arts" can poison the mind, it seems that to be able to have an intelligent conversation, understanding the arguments from all sides is necessary.

Adhering to my policy of waiting to read the books so that the movie isn't ruined (movies are invariably a disappointment) will no doubt color my interpretation somewhat as I understand that the movie has been watered down to appeal to the masses. In fact, even the atheists are up in arms:

Among the points of contention:

The movie refers to the ominous "Magisterium." But is this simply a totalitarian "authority," as the filmmakers say, or does it refer to the Roman Catholic Magisterium — meaning the pope in communion with the bishops?

Are mystical particles called "Dust" a euphemism for sin?

That's the implication in Random House's teacher's guide, which suggests students "use the Bible, a storybook, or an encyclopedia to read about the Garden of Eden and the fall of Adam and Eve."

In the publisher's interview with Pullman, he says his books depict "the Temptation and Fall not as the source of all woe and misery, as in traditional Christian teaching, but as the beginning of true human freedom, something to be celebrated, not lamented."

So the film isn't doctrinaire enough--a point I find amusing in this post-modern world.

Catholics are equally dismayed at the movie and have moved to educate their members:

The Catholic League will have none of that. "We're just taking Pullman at his word," says Donohue. The League produced a pamphlet, The Golden Compass: Agenda Unmasked, debunking Pullman on 95 different points; copies have been distributed to every Catholic bishop in the USA.

"The movie is just bait for the books, which are worse," and the chance to make more movies, Donohue says. "We don't want unsuspecting Christian parents to … take the kids to the film, buy the trilogy, and unknowingly introduce their children to the wonders of atheism and the damnation of Catholicism."

I won't take my kids to the movie, though they enjoy fantasy adventures. They didn't see Happy Feet and Sesame Street isn't played in this house, either. Once they have a good, solid foundation and learn some critical thinking skills, then we can work our way through a movie like The Golden Compass.

The world brims over with objectionable ideology. The notion that there are no moral absolutes and that we can each define the world our own way makes it seem like all ideas are equally valid. But that's certainly not what these Atheists believe. They believe religion to be poison to the mind. They believe that freedom is only possible apart from God. In short, they believe and have faith in something, it's just not God.

It's important for Christians to understand the arguments if only because it demonstrates free will. For all the moral relativism on the Left, they hardly seem interested in understanding why people might disagree with them. Narrow minded, churlish, and resistant to nuance, it causes one to wonder who the zealots are these days.

Does CNN Even Have Fact Checkers?--UPDATE

Turns out that the CNN/YouTube Republican debate questioners already chose their candidates. And, big surprise! They weren't Republicans. Michelle Malkin details the sordid mess.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds says:

JUST HEARD A LENGTHY NPR STORY ON THE YOUTUBE DEBATE, with a live followup from Mara Liasson -- and it omitted any mention of the planted question issue. Hmm. If Fox hosted a Democratic debate and many of the most pointed questions turned out to come from Republican activists, but Fox didn't disclose that, do you think it would pass unremarked?
I'm assuming that question is rhetorical, Glenn.

UPDATE AGAIN: James Lileks gives the debate the respect it deserves:
I heard some of the YouTube presidential debate. It’s a brave new medium that empowers the citizens, you know. The first video-question was some guy singing a song, chosen no doubt for its keen piercing insight. I expect CNN will next use the June Taylor dancers to spell out complex foreign-policy questions that can only be seen from an overhead perspective. It’s a shame we didn’t have this level of citizen participation in the Carter years; people could have asked the candidates questions over CB radio. Analysts say there’s a 60 percent chance we will have, in the near future, a convoy. How would you keep the economy from driftin’ into the granny lane, and stay in the hammer lane without makin’ inflation do a 10-200 on us all? Come back.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bloggers and Everyone Else: If You're Fat, Stand Up!

Research reveals that it's not just exercise, it's how much you're on your feet. Bloggers beware! Sitting on your arse all day long can lead to the spread:

In most cases, exercise alone, according to a team of scientists at the University of Missouri, isn't enough to take off those added pounds. The problem, they say, is that all the stuff we've heard the last few years about weight control left one key factor out of the equation. When we sit, the researchers found, the enzymes that are responsible for burning fat just shut down.
For myself, I'm going to move my laptop, during the day, to the bar in the kitchen. It's at the right level for standing.

This research jives with some other research I can't lay my hands on now, that correlates people who have "ants in their pants", they're in constant motion, burn enough calories to keep them skinny. The kids who sit still and pay attention, are more likely to be fat.

So, lets get everyone up and busy. Bloggers! Take note.

Best Terrorist Recruiting Picture

This should help Al Qaeda.

Using Leopard

So far, so good. I've just started to fool around in it and wonder of wonders! I'm using Safari as my browser to blog.

My brother and I bought the license for five computers together and it got lost in the mail for a month. Finally got it.

I'll let you know more, when I know more. By the way, have you seen the new Apple ads? As usual, they're devastating. (And smug.)

Update: Weird day to day. Another power outage. I swear, my electronics are going to be toasted. Anyone have recommendations on the latest battery back ups and also good power strips? Ours our dropping like flies. We need more and better ones.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What Families Want

When Steve and I looked for a community to call home, we didn't go back to our native States--New York and Michigan--because we hated the snow, ice and gloom. We had lived in Southern California, and while it's delightful when young and single, there was no way in heck we'd live there with a family. So we scouted Arizona (too dry), Colorado (snowy, sunny, overvalued) and at our friends' behest, Houston (yes Houston), Texas.

Who expects to love Houston, or rather a suburb of Houston? That's right, no one. But you get here and love it. I've had so many people tell me this from every diverse background.

Still, city planners scoff. Houston is spread out. Houston doesn't have a "real" down-town. Houston is hot, humid, buggy, and miserable in the summer. Houston is a dirty, oil town. Houston is a cow town (this from an irony-disabled Dallas dweller).

City planners are stupid. As Joel Kotkin notes in his Wall Street Journal editorial:

Advocates of the brew-latté-and-they-will-come approach often point to greater Portland, Ore., which has experienced consistent net gains of educated workers, including families. Yet most of that migration--as well as at least three quarters of the region's population and job growth--has been not to the increasingly childless city, but to the suburban periphery. This pattern holds true in virtually every major urban region.
Here's what Houston suburbs have: planned communities, good schools, access to culture, jobs, jobs, jobs, cheap housing, etc. Sure single people might like the city. I'm a mom with three kids and I like the city. But I don't like it that much--not enough to live there.

I want to take my kids for a walk and go to parks safely. I want room. I want a mall within minutes and the grocery even closer. In short, I want the suburb of a big city. And there are lots of people just like me.

City planners need to remember the dull, boring families. We do exist.

H/T Instapundit

Monday, November 26, 2007

Trent Lott Gay?

This is from Perez Hilton, who also was the first to break Castro's death--only, he's still alive.

I don't know his sexual orientation, but I do know he's got a voracious appetite--for pork. May Mr. Piggy go and good riddance, too!

Getting Out Clean: Part Deux

Since flu season is upon us, I had re-linked to a post I wrote about getting out of a public restroom clean. That re-post garnered this response:

My god, how horrible must life be to go through it filled with such paranoia. How did our species survive for the millenia before we invent antiseptic wipes?

Remember when we were kids? We played in the dirt and mud. We rolled around on the ground with dogs (or whatever farm animals we were raising at the time). We drank from the garden hose that had been lying on the ground for months.

Strong immune systems that have been exposed to and conquered multitudes of viruses over a lifetime are not very susceptible to infection.

I spend all of my free time outside. Camping, hunting, fishing (and the various animal butchering that these activities require) are about as dirty as you can get.

Sure, I wash my hands after using the toilet, and before eating if they look dirty. I even use soap. I have never even given a thought to touching the water faucet or the door handle.

According to my employee record, my last sick day was sometime in 2003.
Evidently, my advice got misconstrued as some paean to obsessive-compulsion. Well, I think it would be wise to revisit the topic but give it a broader foundation.

A person with a healthy immune system won't get sick. Period. A healthy immune system isolates, kills, eats and then excretes viri, bad bacteria and mutant cells. All these invaders are tricky and do their best to fool the system. When the system is tired, malnourished, or otherwise stressed that's what happens.

People with strong constitutions are really people who rarely perceive stress or when a stressor is applied to them, they bounce back faster or use the stressor positively. I'm not talking about the strong-silent type who is imploding and the rest of the world sees it when he drops dead of a heart attack. I'm talking about the George Burns type who lives life fully and happily, and enjoys a good cigar now and again, too.

A healthy immune system is built by exposure to naturally occurring organisms in naturally occurring situations. One of the best things you can do for your kid is to let him catch a cold or the flu or some other virus and let him fight it without intervening with medications which short-circuit the immune process. Another way to build it is to walk barefoot. Let the kids play in the dirt, walk in the dirt, get dirty. And an excellent way to build the immune system is to get a dog or three. Animals share many bacteria with humans. Plus, their presence boosts the immune system.

So while I might be a little OCD about getting out of a public bathroom clean, please understand I'm not a general germophobe. Many public restrooms are disgusting petri dishes. The worst are hospital bathrooms where the bugs are supersonic. It is wise to be vigilant in public places while not being hysterical. Remember, stress lowers the immune system.

To stay well while traveling, for example, do this:
  1. Allow enough time (emotional stress)
  2. Drink plenty of water (you lose hydration because of recycled air--physiological stress)
  3. Wash hands after using the bathroom and before eating
  4. Watch, listen, or read positive something. (boosts immune system)
  5. Take a shower and a walk after a long travel day. (clean the skin and clear out the windpipes, increase circulation which washes out bugs)
  6. Drink more water and take water soluble vitamins like a B complex.
  7. Try to have a good sleep.
  8. Avoid shaking hands (#1 way bugs are transmitted is direct contact).
You won't get sick, even if you're surrounded by choking masses. Boost your immune system.

And still, wash your hands!

There's Always Hope For Reconciliation


"How is that different from a man buying a young girl dinner?"

What's a rich, white, middle-aged, single (ostensibly) woman to do?

Hard figures are difficult to come by, but local people on the coast estimate that as many as one in five single women visiting from rich countries are in search of sex.

Emerging alongside this black market trade -- and obvious in the bars and on the sand once the sun goes down -- are thousands of elderly white women hoping for romantic, and legal, encounters with much younger Kenyan men.

They go dining at fine restaurants, then dancing, and back to expensive hotel rooms overlooking the coast.

"One type of sex tourist attracted the other," said one manager at a shorefront bar on Mombasa's Bamburi beach.

"Old white guys have always come for the younger girls and boys, preying on their poverty ... But these old women followed ... they never push the legal age limits, they seem happy just doing what is sneered at in their countries."

Experts say some thrive on the social status and financial power that comes from taking much poorer, younger lovers.
The good new days: Feminism means women acting out the basest nature of men. It's something to aspire to!

Beowulf: There Are No Heroes

We have firmly established that I am a hard-core, socially awkward, fantasy-reading,, sci-fi watching nerd. Just wanted to remind you of that while reviewing the movie Beowulf.

Beowulf, oh ye of firm, round, hairless buttocks and impressive, um, courage! This movie strikes me as a satire of all monster v. man films out there rather than a serious treatment of the epic poem. I giggled throughout. Most of the rest of the audience didn't seem to get the joke.

Everything, and I mean, everything was enhanced in this remarkable cartoon. It was a cartoon. While the characters looked and sounded like Angelina Jolie (naked and gold), Anthony Hopkins (bloated and bulked up) and Ray Winstone (ripped and taut), they were cartoons. Thus, the raters of the movie deemed the fake boobs and butts acceptable for children. I would NOT bring any child under fifteen to this movie, but I'm strict.

If you're going to fully appreciate the spectacle, see this movie in 3D. You want to be blood-spattered and oozed on, if possible, otherwise it's not worth it, right? Grendel is hideous beyond all measure. I caught myself examining his skinned arms, filleted jaw, and disfigured head. But even that turned funny. He was like a puss-filled Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.

The emotions conveyed by the animation lacked humanness. They seemed to focus more on Beowulf's facial ticks and features and he felt the most "real". Otherwise, the entire picture was an experience, much like the movie 300. There was little emotional engagement. In fact, the movie reminded me of Moulin Rouge and even Chicago to a lesser extent or going to a Cirque du Soleil show, where the story is the spectacle. There is no narrative.

Modern writers eschew a plot for fear it will turn off the masses. It is either the experience (300) or to be preached at incessantly (Lions for Lambs, Happy Feet). Can't a movie have an engaging story where a hero clearly wins? Oh wait, I remember. There are no heroes.

My only "deep thought" associated with this film came during the very last scene. I leaned over to ask my husband if men, were indeed, so easily mislead. He said yes, but I thought that conclusion to be rather misandric. Surely men exist who wouldn't be tempted by the likes of a naked demon Angelina Jolie purring false promises destined to be eternal torment.

Was the joke on Ms. Jolie and Mr. Pitt or was the joke on us? I bet the latter. The movie should be categorized as a comedy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Personal and Ideological Hygiene

Tis the season to be wheezin' so I thought it might be helpful to talk personal hygiene. 40% of men regularly don't wash their hands after using public restrooms. That is just plain vile. For information about how to get out of public restrooms clean, read here. (It's more challenging that you'd think.)

It might also be a good time to discuss how disease and stupid ideas are spread because they happen the same way. A way to raise brand awareness is called "viral marketing". Good ideas can spread especially on the web where word-of-mouth is everything. Viral marketing assumes that "influencers" will pass along the idea. And they do, in a limited way (we bloggers like to think in a big way). But what causes more extensive spreading? Big groups of people who don't use personal hygiene:

Using mathematical models of social networks, Columbia Professor Duncan Watts looked at how behavior or information cascades among groups of people, or what we think of as "going viral." He found that the people we think of as "influencers" -- trusted folks with friends in many different social spheres -- don't really influence many people beyond their immediate community. Watts argues that a much more reliable way to spark trends is by going after a large group of easily-influenced people, even if they don't have as many friends.
So people, say the Hollywood elite, never wash their ideological hands. They swarm in like-minded groups and whatever disease that's going around--9/11 was inside job, soldiers are rapists, global warming will kill us all, etc.--gets spread to everyone. That's how three stupid anti-war movies can come out and make nary a penny. A mental-disease spread.

It is also how a big groups of people can cling to ridiculous ideas. The public has been stressed for some time now. They are disillusioned by the press and the government, and their trust in our leaders like the President, is hammered away at non-stop. The press gives the government almost super-natural power and the populace believes it. This fragile ecosystem is ripe for exploitation. All sorts of ideas fall in when rational thought is pushed out.

Thus, a poll revealing the majority of the U.S. believes a 9/11 conspiracy. It's insane. It's unfathomable, but I know far too many people who believe these theories. They look normal yet they carry a pernicious disease and spread it, mostly because they don't have the critical thinking foundation necessary to navigate this post-modern world.

And it is scary. You can try to rationalize it, as Ann Althouse does, but it's scary:
Oh, no. What is to become of our democracy if people are so foolish? Grasping for hope, I theorize that people don't actually go around thinking these things but being polled somehow lures them into agreeing with statements. I'm not saying the poll wasn't done according to professional standards. I'm just speculating that maybe when people hear a calm, professional-sounding voice state a proposition, perhaps something that they haven't really thought about, they fall into agreement. (And, yes, I know, it's pathetic that that's all I can come up with when I'm grasping for hope.)
The cure for the disease is prevention. Rational thoughts, like clean hands, help halt these diseases.

Cross-posted at John Hawkin's site
Right Wing News.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Flu Drugs Give Children Neurological Problems

It's important to remember that the largest concentration of nerve fibers, outside the brain, is in the gut. You do have gut feelings.

Don't give your kids Flu drugs. Hygiene. Hygiene. Hygiene. Fluids, rest, good nutrition should be enough to help any kid manage the flu.

Today might be a good day to remind you about how to get out of a public bathroom clean.

Howard Out In Australia

And what is the jubilant USA Today headline? Australia Ousts Conservatives is the Google headline and when you get to the actual page, the paper itself is a bit more subdued: Australia ousts center-right coalition. Such restraint! How about Howard concedes or some such?

They might as well have written, "Ding-dong one of the witches is dead!" Remember how stomach-turning it was to watch Clinton and his minions dancing around to Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow like he was new prom king? Yeah, so do I. If a Dem wins in 08, I expect to feel like this. More here.

Don't expect any dignity from the press should a Democrat win in 2008. Not that they have much on a good day.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Church Staggers: Treasure and The Heart

There are only two things in life: money and love. Right now, the church is hurting on both accounts. As previously discussed, the role of women in the church and what some perceive as the feminist neuterization of male and female roles which results in socialist jargon passing for sermons, empties seats.

It's all love, all the time in churches but what does love mean? Are there any expectations to demonstrate that love?

That brings us to the other immutable issue: money. Tithing has become an issue in the modern church. People are reading their bibles and rejecting the commonly accepted notion that tithing is required. The Wall Street Journal reports this phenomenon (worth reading the whole article):

The anti-tithing movement has found support in some unlikely places: theologically conservative divinity schools and church pulpits. At Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., professor Andreas Kostenberger challenges tithing in classes on the New Testament. He teaches that if you add up all taxes paid by the ancient Israelites, they exceed 10%, and that in the New Testament there's no percentage rule. He says pastors perpetuate the 10% figure out of "pragmatism, tradition and ignorance, quite frankly."
Matthew 6:21 says it all regarding giving:

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

People don't have their heart or treasure in the church these days. And they are suspicious of the way their churches are spending money. And in many cases, churches spend selfishly.

For six years, while avoiding any churches because the ones I had contact with seemed filled to the brim with hypocrisy and anything but love, we gave charitably other places. Many charities were still ministries--charities with Christian foundations--but they offered concrete, tangible ministry.

But I can't help but wonder if the church isn't just a reflection of the people attending there. Consumed with their own busy lives, many church-goers don't take time for church, or more importantly, God. Going to church is a way of giving time (these days, a much more precious commodity) to worship and learn and to be filled up spiritually. People are doing this less than they used to, too.

So while some church goers complain about the church's priorities and selfishness, the same could be said for the members themselves.

If a person has adequate funds, 10% giving back doesn't seem too much. It seems like a basic contribution not unlike the minimum set aside for retirement.

Ultimately, churches reap what they sow. The Catholic Church has hurt herself, I'm guessing for a generation at least, in the United States because of their scandals. Church pastors are as prone to sin like porn as the rest of the populace. And then there are the church leaders who live secret lives. All these scandals HAVE made a difference in how people, men especially, view the church.

Distrust in authority makes it seem almost unbelievable that a pastor or church board would do this when a member wonders about tithing:

When he objected to his church's instructions to tithe, Kirk Cesaretti took it up with the church leaders. In response, he received a letter from the pastor and elders of Hydesville Community Church in Hydesville, Calif. "At this time, we believe your concerns do not warrant any change in our church policy or positions," the letter read.

The letter closed with a verse from Hebrews 13:17: "Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls; as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."

When the leaders are corrupt or lazy or sinful, or people may fear them to be, no amount of scriptural brow-beating will get them to give to the church.

The pastors and church leadership would do well to read Malachi 2. Tithing is a secondary problem.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007--Part II

Good Afternoon and may the Lions win, but may Green Bay have many interceptions. (I have the Green Bay defense for my fantasy football team, but I love the Lions lo tho they have disappointed me many a year.)

Bored yet? Well, here's a link to Thanksgiving coloring pages. And you could always go shopping. Heaven forbid, we take one day to be with friends and family, football and feasting. Must have Karaoke Machine . NOW!

Note that I have a new Amazon widget in the right-hand column. Oprah has her list of favorite things. At my store link, I have a list of my favorite things. I'll do a post today and keep it at the top of my blog and edit it as I find new, great, stuff.

Mama had some good advice, too:

The cure for the curse of plenty is to share it, and to recognize your good fortune and your happiness. You can't figure out your opportunities until you know your assets, and our best assets are often our friends and family.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007--UPDATED REGULARLY

Hi all! A very happy, healthy and whole Thanksgiving to all of you! I'll be going out and grabbing Thanksgiving posts and adding them.

My first is by John Stossel courtesy Betsy about the famine in Plymouth. Can you say a socialistic experiment gone wrong? Once the settlers got capitalism, it was all good. Thus, Thanksgiving. He notes:

What Plymouth suffered under communalism was what economists today call the tragedy of the commons. But the problem has been known since ancient Greece. As Aristotle noted, "That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it."

When action is divorced from consequences, no one is happy with the ultimate outcome. If individuals can take from a common pot regardless of how much they put in it, each person has an incentive to be a free rider, to do as little as possible and take as much as possible because what one fails to take will be taken by someone else. Soon, the pot is empty and will not be refilled -- a bad situation even for the earlier takers.

What private property does -- as the Pilgrims discovered -- is connect effort to reward, creating an incentive for people to produce far more. Then, if there's a free market, people will trade their surpluses to others for the things they lack. Mutual exchange for mutual benefit makes the community richer.

Ace talks about post-T-day dieting. Don't want to get fat to begin with? What's wrong with you? It's Thanksgiving. Really, it's the carbs. Ditch 'em. That means you'll be eating turkey and well, turkey. Have a salad, some cranberries, a dab of sweet potatoes and a thin slice of apple pie. Avoid potatoes, stuffing, pecan pie, bread and all the other "fixins". Don't eat like a pig and you'll be fine. Go out for a walk before the game starts. No harm done. If you choose to eat like a pig and forgo post-nosh puking, the best bet is to put yourself into ketosis. That's essentially the Adkins diet--deprive your body of carbohydrates so your liver starts breaking down fat for energy. You'll be fine. Really. Step up your exercise while eating only protein, fat and veggies and you'll drop weight.

Are you guilty about feasting on Thanksgiving? So do Leftists, but for other reasons. Sez Michael Medved:
"The notion that now you have a major school system sending out a message that, no, rather than expressing thanks we should emphasize guilt on this holiday — that is sick, it is destructive and it is anti-American."
More Thanksgiving anxiety for those with eating disorders. As we've already seen, if you eat and/or have relatives, T-day can be anxiety-provoking. Get over it, anorexics!

If you're in a giving mood, you can get a free laptop if you buy one for a kid in Africa. They look cool, but I wonder if a kid needs food more. My kids want to adopt a kid--you know send money every month. Any good organizations?

LaShawn Barber is thankful to blog and that her blog is read by important people.

Mark Steyn recounts the history of Jingle Bells. Will anyone be dashing through the snow, what with Global Warming and all? Oh, and Steyn explains why America and Thanksgiving are great.
What to overlook when you're with your relatives and what to remember, by Gina Cobb.

Kinds of Turkeys. Some from Washington, but they won't be there for long.

And your fatigue? Not the turkey's fault. H/T Brendan Loy. Brendan Loy is almost a dad! Only a few weeks left. Something to be thankful for, for sure.

Michelle Malkin reminds us: STOP Before You Gripe. An absolute must read!

Here's one more thing to be thankful for: Hillary isn't president.....yet. UPDATE: Oh, and neither is Monica Lewinsky, but some prefer her.

Reasons to not be thankful for the press. 300,000 reasons to be thankful for Democracy.

Abe Lincoln's original intention for Thanksgiving. And the post-modernists' butchery of Thanksgiving as a demonstration of gluttonous narcissism. I'll have a big, fat helping of myself and my own world view, thank you!

More on surviving the holidays and challenges, too. Stay sane out there people!

Thoughts on justice, or lack thereof. And why to be thankful this isn't a communist nation and be thankful for free speech. Paul Belian notes:
It is worse. These habits also haunt Western Europe. America’s first amendment, which allows people to say what they want, even if it is deemed offensive to others, is simply anathema to Europeans. The great 20th century American journalist H.L. Mencken once said: “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.” The Europeans failed to stop the oppression at the beginning.
We will go the way of Belgium, if we aren't willing to acknowledge threats to free speech. Right now, it's coming from the unlikeliest of places, but it's a place Europe is used to.

Comical holiday horror--go here for turkey laughs.

I'm thankful for blogging and Thomas Jefferson would be, too. Faux freedom of expression is pronounced amongst the artsy fartsy types. You'll find the real thing on blogs.

China can keep their products from those post-holiday sales. As they deny our troops a good time, I say BUY AMERICAN! More American product links here. This won't make a difference. I know you're lining up for that $800 42" flatscreen at Wal-Mart, but still. China and freedom don't seem to mix.

More, later!

UPDATE 7: Thanksgiving Day 8:25 AM CST

James Lileks shares what he's thankful for and has great retro pictures, too.

Personally, I'm thankful for a the links I've been thrown by some big bloggers, including Instapundit, The Anchoress, John Hawkins and others! My readership is steadily building and I'm thankful for you readers, too!

I Trust The Government.....To Be Incompetent Boobs

Stories like these are why I'm not a government-knows-all conspiracy nut. There are just too many layers of lazy and stupid to make the whole organism out to be some efficient, fit, evil machine.

Internet Addiction

According to the test, I'm totally in control. My number is 35. I can quit anytime. Sure. Sure.

Are the results valid if I shaded the truth to make myself look better?

H/T Ann Althouse whose number is a 42.

Helping Congo Rape Victims

Here is a way to do that.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Women And The Church And Everywhere Else

First, Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

MaxedOutMama, a favorite blogger of mine not only for her economic insights which are excellent and often prophetic but also for her social commentary, wrote a humdinger of a post that you should all know about and read. She discusses a woman's role in the church. Has the church become feminized and will women behind the pulpit kill the church?

This year in England, more women graduated from seminary than men. The trend is even more significant in some U.S. schools. What will be the likely effect? There is no question in my mind that society has steadily been neutered and I've written on this in the past:

I think the modern feminist movement has pushed a neuterization of our culture.

The essence of femaleness, the essence of masculinity is being pressed through an androgynous mould where we end up with wussified metrosexuals (all grooming and sexual grazing) and butch babes (all power grabs and gonads).

The emphasis both ways is self and self-gratification, either through money accumulation and/or sexual conquest. Is this the ideal those bent on gender-equity have fought for, lo, all these years? That men and women are essentially flawed and must "evolve" into one genderless, narcisstic being?

I'm not sure this "neuterization" was the goal, but that is where we are in America now. The result has been confused, used, materialistically wealthy and spiritually empty people seeking meaning everywhere but where it can be found: through faith, family and fidelity.
My concern about a woman having authority in a church is this: It will do no good for the future of the world, if women win in the church but souls are lost for Christ.

So, some people relate the decline of the church with feminism. Does a woman giving a sermon drive men away from church? One male commentator hypothesized that a woman's sermons tend to focus on relationship and soft teachings rather than tough doctrinal stances that might make parishioners uncomfortable. In essence, a woman's desire to avoid conflict makes a sissified church. Says one commenter:
Sissy theology seems to have come hand in hand with women taking over the clergy. One cannot fight nature; we are part of it and subject to it. So I would say, based on history, there are certainly women who are likely to be very good at a macroscopic pastoral duty, but likely so few as to be the exception.
This assumption implies that men are talking tough behind the pulpit. But the rise of popular televangelists like Joel Osteen give evidence otherwise. His church is full of men and women because he speaks a softer gospel message not in spite of it.

I also wonder if it is just that women haven't had as much access to the pulpit and in those positions. I know something that drives accomplished women from church: being consigned to kitchen duty when they sit on the board room during the week. For women who believe a more traditional, conservative theology, the church can seem downright oppressive and a throw-back to a bad time.

Maybe it's just the softer doctrine spoken by everyone that is killing the church. It is distressingly apparent how theologically ignorant many preachers now seem. There is only one preacher I know who can, without thought, put his finger on nearly any verse to support a doctrinal position. He is an ex-Rabbi and is thoroughly trained in theology, exegesis, hermeneutics and ethics. I might disagree with his conclusions, but he always has something concrete to back them up.

So, I'm putting this topic out there. If women in the church ruin it as this commenter notes:
Can a Christian denomination survive women’s ordination? It would be incumbent on the innovationists to prove that. Evidence for: The Assembly of God church. Evidence against: Sweden. My inclination is that the Anglican church will go the way of the Lutheran church in Sweden where 1/2% of Swedes attend church on a given Sunday (most of those being immigrants). Liberal feminized theology has effectively killed Christianity in that country.
Does feminism spell disaster for the business world and society itself?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Books & Test Scores

Why would this be true?

In seeking to detail the consequences of a decline in reading, the study showed that reading appeared to correlate with other academic achievement. In examining the average 2005 math scores of 12th graders who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books, an analysis of federal Education Department statistics found that those students scored much lower than those who lived in homes with more than 100 books. Although some of those results could be attributed to income gaps, Mr. Iyengar noted that students who lived in homes with more than 100 books but whose parents only completed high school scored higher on math tests than those students whose parents held college degrees (and were therefore likely to earn higher incomes) but who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books.
Maybe those with lots of books value learning and it's as simple as that.

Detroit Is Dangerous

On a positive note, Detroit is losing population like a European country so there won't be very many criminals and/or victims left before long.

More Detroit stats here.

Mixing Politics (And Other Impolite Topics) With Family and Holidays

Holidays and politics and/or religion and/or lifestyle choices (that's not being politically correct, one of our patients was pilloried by her family of medical doctors because she had the temerity to visit a chiropractor for back pain even when they had no helpful solutions) can be a toxic brew. People are drinking. They are financially stressed. They feel reduced to childhood roles. They feel trapped by the manipulation of mom and dad. In short, it's hell.

Dr. Helen gives some very good and sensible advice about negotiating family and politics in particular, and holidays:

First, remember there is no need to discuss anything political. If you find the topic worse than a trip to the dentist to get your teeth pulled, just smile and say that at the holidays, you prefer to relax and talk about family and change the subject.
Her follow-up advice is equally sensible. Don't try to change someone else's mind. Be prepared with facts. Good advice, all. But what about avoiding the melee altogether?

Don't go.

By the time a person reaches the age he or she can decide what to do for Thanksgiving or Christmas, he can decide whether or not to do it all. This might mean uncomfortable conversations like this:

"I'm sorry. We won't be able to join you this year."

"Why not?'

"We've decided to keep Thanksgiving as a family."

Likely, your family is intuitive and knows the real reason. Mom will kvetch about
how great it will be this year and Johnny is getting better and we're hiding the liquor or whatever.

You're an adult. Just. Say. No.

One of the great things about adulthood is doing what we want to do. Well, they can tell us, but we can do what we want anyway. So embrace your adulthood freedom and do what you want!

Another idea: set limitations. Go for dinner, but don't stay for the sing-a-long. Or, skip dinner and stop by for dessert. Or go the next day to visit the beloved cousins, when the atmosphere is less charged. If all the women end in the kitchen while the lard-butt men melt into the couch for football and it galls you as a woman of the new millinium, rebel. Sit on the couch. It won't bother the guys, but the ladies might have a beef. Politely suggest that they nag their husbands.

If you must go and desire to not feel like the perpetual holiday whipping boy, use humor. Sometimes the vibe gets so heavy and serious. No one has changed the world by discussions at the Thanksgiving table.... OK scratch that, they probably have at the Bush or Kennedy or Tudor table, but you know what I mean. Here's a potential script to demonstrate the absurdity of the conversation that has replaying for years:

"You know what, Joe? You're right. I finally saw the error of my ways after all these years. I'm now a registered Democrat. I've donated to Obama and Clinton and Edwards, just to cover my bases. The Democrats have done such a stellar job in Congress that it was time to make a change to be on the side of the winners."

At first, Cousin It will think you're serious. Finally, he's come to his senses! Then, he'll get that you're being sarcastic and get mad. With any luck though, he'll regard you as hopeless and ignore you for the rest of the night.

If Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't days of joy for you and your family, why are you doing it? Really, life is way too short.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Death Penalty: Data Backs Common Sense

You know how everyone intuitively understands that the death penalty stops some (not all) criminals? Among friends, I've had discussions where people wonder why anyone would commit a murder in Texas. Criminals seem absolutely terrified of being extradited to Texas for good reason. In Texas, they get killed, good and dead.

You know how all the pointy heads said that the death penalty isn't a deterrent it's just society's blood-thirsty need for vengeance? And you know how you thought to yourself, whatever, that scum-sucking psycho murderer rapist has zero chance of hurting anyone else and maybe some other scum will think twice.

Turns out, conventional wisdom was right.

According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented.

The effect is most pronounced, according to some studies, in Texas and other states that execute condemned inmates relatively often and relatively quickly.

The studies, performed by economists in the past decade, compare the number of executions in different jurisdictions with homicide rates over time — while trying to eliminate the effects of crime rates, conviction rates and other factors — and say that murder rates tend to fall as executions rise. One influential study looked at 3,054 counties over two decades.

“I personally am opposed to the death penalty,” said H. Naci Mocan, an economist at Louisiana State University and an author of a study finding that each execution saves five lives. “But my research shows that there is a deterrent effect.
I know. Shocking. But still, it's nice to have data back up common sense.

Friday, November 16, 2007

More Reconciliation In Iraq

Reconciliation from the top down. The leaders can act courageous because the people have decided the direction they want their country to go.

Wait a minute. Isn't that Democracy?

Flesh-eating Bacteria

A solution? And a natural one at that.

Thwarted Attacks

Just because we haven't lost a battle since 9/11 doesn't mean were not at war.

H/T Instapundit

The Best Day In Iraq Ever

Read the whole thing. I cried.

Barry Bonds Belongs Behind Bars

Yes, I'm "rushing" to judgment, after hearing about this sordid mess for years. There is going to be more than an asterisk next to Barry Bond's name.

Do you think he'll be barred from the Hall of Fame because of his criminal actions?

Where will Barry Bonds end up?
Hall of Fame
Both the Hall of Fame and Jail
He's innocent, I tell you! Why does everyone hate Barry? free polls

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hillary The Flight Attendant

Personally, I prefer stewardess over flight attendant. "Stewardess" provokes visuals of mini-skirts and martinis, hosiery and jaunty hats. It provokes a sexist era where women let their men fight for them when they suffer a case of the vapors at the first sign of conflict.

Maureen Dowd asks whether Hillary Clinton should act like a Flight Attendant to get elected. That Boeing has already sailed, Mo Do. Hillary has a nice long pattern of cloaking herself in stereotype if the political climate gets uncomfortable.

If Hillary "crashes the Oval ceiling" as Ms. Dowd says, it will be because (or despite of, depending on how you look at it) she went Retro. I don't think she or anyone in her campaign believes that being a woman among equals will get her elected.

We'll know things have changed, when Hillary acts like a Pilot, taking command, during a crisis. So far, all we've seen is a Stewardess in distress.

Blog World Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Ever the tiny toad in my (actually a Crawly Amphibian) still small pond, I watched with interest as Mary Katherine Ham interviewed the Big Amphibians, actually Higher Beings, at the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas. A couple things struck me.

First, the Lefties they served on panels with can't seem to conceive that the Right side of the blogosphere is motivated by love for blogging, ideas, persuasion, etc. There must be some nefarious funder! There must be some hidden agenda! Or the latest theory, there must be an overarching "organization"! Or, it could be that there are a lot of really smart people doing it for the love. I thought the Left were idealists. They remind me, again, to be aware of what people accuse you of, they're probably revealing themselves.

Second, those on the Right are funny. Nothing, not even Cystic Fibrosis, is so important or weighty that there isn't some balance and perspective. Those on the Left seem forever angry and angst-ridden anticipating the tragedy that was or is or will come to be. It's no wonder Apocalypse Now is one of the fave movies. No matter what's happening, it's always an apocalypse. It's the raison d'etre. And they say that Bush has Armageddon fantasies.

Third, the Blogging right is smart. If the Left side of the blogosphere is the Lymbic system on hallucinogens all raw, conspiratorial, emotion, the Right side is the Frontal lobe after a cup of coffee--alert, quick and a bit hyper-nerd. There's a scholarly sensibility to the Righties. They're the new intelligentsia and intellectuals. Some actually serve at institutions of higher learning, but most don't. They're too busy working real jobs, staying in touch with real people, and have a notion of how real policies affect the real world.

Ms. Ham's video makes me want to visit Vegas next year. I would love to meet the Milbloggers, especially. Rock on you guys! And I'm jealous she got to hang out with Bill Roggio and Michael Totten, two of my faves. And maybe Michael Yon could extricate himself from some Baghdad bust up to party in Vegas. I'd buy the drinks, Michael! (Yes, I'm married, I just love Michael's writing.)

Another favored group are the psych bloggers--Dr. Sanity, Shrink and Siggie would be good drinking buddies, too. And maybe we could pull in some of the anonymous bloggers who I love--they could just walk around in burqas!

Looked like fun, Ms. Ham, maybe next time!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Bad Old Days

I meant to point you guys to this yesterday. There are some people who reminisce and hope to change public policy around to relive the glory days. James Lileks notes:

Progress is a herky-jerky march, and it’s not always clear which way we’re heading. I tend to believe it all could be much, much worse, and I still have faith in the future, mostly because I am loath to abandon Youthful Optimism and settle into gouty disapproval. I do know that things are certainly cooler than ever. Things are just cool. When I first started doing the MYS concerts, I was writing on an iMac, calling up the baby internet on a 640X480 screen; last night I was looking over my script backstage, and I realized that I was introducing an opera about which I knew nothing. So I called up wikipedia on the iPhone, got some details a minute before I was supposed to go on stage, and added them to the remarks. And it felt cool.

Anyway. If there’s one conviction that afflicts the keenest mind as it ages, it’s the belief that Things Were Better Then, and Things Are Horrible Now, usually because no one has learned the lessons of your own generation and insisted on experiencing the world for themselves. (Frank Rich provided a neat example of this a few days ago, when he diagnosed Americans as “clinically depressed” and unable to capture the glories of his demographic, which Took It To the Streets, Man. And blew up a few buildings while they were at it, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking into a farmer’s coop, stealing his chickens, setting fire to the coop and running off with the eggs, all of which you later misplaced because you were high.)

I’m so used to being lectured by sour Boomers I’ve come to think of them all as the Gratingest Generation, but it was nice to see Keillor write about how things were worse, then.
Read the whole thing.

False Rape & Other Female Stupidity That Sets Women Back

These women should be jailed. Every. Time. They. Lie.

Between Hillary hiding behind her ovaries, women trapping men, and girls crying rape, men don't need to be sexist. Women make themselves look like simpering fools.

For the record, I believe abortion should be illegal. Then the argument against "forced fatherhood" evaporates.

Surviving Sexism

Should the word "bitch" even be a part of political discourse around female presidential candidates? I'm kinda amazed at the commenters' responses.

My take is that a Republican man tacitly approving the use of that word reinforces the prejudice against conservatives.


Interesting article on animal behavior. I imagine this research will create the cars of the future that have brains that figure out where they need to go. Many more vehicles could be on the road at once and there'd be no crashes.

There might be cannibalism, though.

Mineral Make-Up

Well, I'm just getting around to reading The Anchoress and she's posting about world-changing things, of course, but what caught my attention was the post about Bare Escentuals mineral make-up. I use a similar product and only started in the last six months or so, called Jane Iredale. Jane created the first, and my esthetician friend says, the best mineral make-up. She even has a blog!

I love it. And I like her more already knowing she's a fellow blogger.

The make-up is awesome! Light, with a beautiful finish. I have oily skin, prone to break-outs (thanks to my Scottish-English heritage) and the mineral make-up turns out lovely without ever feeling heavy.

Many readers recommend Bare Escentuals, too. Either way, I think it's better for your skin than most goop.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rising STD Rates Makes Monogamy Look Sexy

Chlamydia is so NOT. Gah!

This is one STD that can be silent and goes about its business destroying a woman's reproductive capability and can result in Reiter's Syndrome.

Disgusting, all of it.

Animal Massage

A friend just sent this to us. Anyone into alternative therapy might appreciate it.

Oh! And click on it and you'll get to see the masseuse at work.

Selling A Kidney: Utilitarianism and Health

Sell a kidney is the "radical" idea to save people who need kidney transplants, reports the Wall Street Journal. It's an interesting, if not very original, idea. It's also fairly easy to predict the consequences of allowing kidney sales because it's what already happens with sales of other, um, body parts and by-products:

  1. College students would have another income stream besides plasma donation, sperm donation, egg donation, biopsy donation (medical experiments), psychology experiments, etc. As it is, their youth, vitality, idealism, and ignorance get exploited to help the world.
  2. Poor people would sell kidneys to make money.
  3. The market would have more kidneys.
  4. Less sick people will die.
  5. More people will die when they get older and their own ill health kicks in and they only have one kidney.
  6. There will be a backlash.
  7. People will stop donating and/or selling kidneys.
Number 7 will happen a generation or so from now. Maybe. One doctor is all for creating a free market kidney solution. His friend thinks it's a bad idea:

Among his opponents on the issue is a friend and colleague, Francis Delmonico. A Harvard University professor who has played a central role in shaping national transplant policy, the 62-year-old physician has several objections to organ sales. He fears such a system would attract the poor, vulnerable and unhealthy, and that altruistic donations might wither away.

"Payments eventually result in the exploitation of the individual," says Dr. Delmonico, who also worries about encouraging black-market sales both here and in developing countries. "It's the poor person who sells."

This would be my position. One might object, but you don't have a kidney problem. True enough. But I worry about the exploitation of people and to me, that seems inevitable. The greater concern, and it's one seldom looked at, is the effect that creating an organ market will have on society as a whole. To me, it will make the moral boundaries even more ambiguous.

Selling organs will commoditize (if that's a word) life.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thanksgiving Food

Friends of mine of the Gen X generation discussed the universally reviled squash. That orange blob of stringy stuff people of certain generations love.

So, I'm putting it to vote? Are you for or against Squash as traditional Thanksgiving fare? I think you know where I stand:

How do you feel about squash?
I love it!
It is disgusting and vile. free polls

Sunday, November 11, 2007

DNA Discrimination

Science faces discrimination these days. That is the scientists daring to publish ideas supported by research but not conforming to political correctness is discriminated against. If the science doesn't bend to preconceived notions or is somehow uncomfortable, scientists and other thinkers simply ignore it or worse, demean it. The academic environment has become so politically charged, searching for truth is a secondary goal to making sure that the results are politically correct.

The latest dust up is over DNA. DNA has been mapped now, and as it is further dissected, some difficult facts have been revealed:

Though few of the bits of human genetic code that vary between individuals have yet to be tied to physical or behavioral traits, scientists have found that roughly 10 percent of them are more common in certain continental groups and can be used to distinguish people of different races. They say that studying the differences, which arose during the tens of thousands of years that human populations evolved on separate continents after their ancestors dispersed from humanity’s birthplace in East Africa, is crucial to mapping the genetic basis for disease.

But many geneticists, wary of fueling discrimination and worried that speaking openly about race could endanger support for their research, are loath to discuss the social implications of their findings. Still, some acknowledge that as their data and methods are extended to nonmedical traits, the field is at what one leading researcher recently called “a very delicate time, and a dangerous time.” [Emphasis added.]

So scientists are afraid of losing grants for their research because their results (facts) might be dangerous.

My concern isn't that science might come up with difficult facts. My concern is that science will come up with difficult facts and refuse to share them. In an area that should be devoid of ideology and focused on pursuing the truth, withholding data has serious implications for the expansion of knowledge.

Who gets to decide what the little people are capable of handling? And what will the process be to decide this? And worse it is disturbing that scientists would ignore valid fields of research because they fear losing livelihood or respect in the field.

Texas The Least Vain State

Don't mess with Texas, right? Our land is big. Our egos bigger.

Or not.

Texas comes in dead last when it comes to vanity plates. Perhaps we should reconsider our big-hatted reputation!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Nigerian Scammers Get Creative With Your Friends

Imagine that you send out an email to your friends begging for emergency money, but oops! It's not you, it's those nice Nigerian princesses who need some unearned cash.

The information superhighway is a dangerous place friends. Like the Captain on Hill Street Blues said, "Be careful out there."


This is going to change the world. Imagine creating more brain cells. How can that be a bad thing, right?

What A Modern Metrosexual Must Suffer


Do we even have to contemplate why Western Civilization is going down the shitter?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ferret Poop Stops Drug Abuse!

The government gives some fantastic advice about disposing of unused medication.

Freedom Between Two Rivers

PHOTO: Michael Yon captures Christian and Muslim people restoring a cross to the top of a church in Iraq. “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.”
[Thanks, Michael, for all your hard work. I hope this gets you a Pulitzer. Note: Michael Yon works by donations. Please help him stay as an independent voice in Iraq free to follow the stories.]

I have been relentlessly optimistic about Iraq, much to the bemusement of nearly everyone I know. The educated, sophisticated positions fall in these categories notes The Anchoress:

It’s one of those photographs that takes the breath - there is a feeling of cognitive dissonance. Some of us on one side - who perhaps have never understood why we went to Iraq in the first place - may look at this picture and say, “but…but…Iraq is a hell-hole, an unmanageable, unwinnable, place of civil strife, death and occupied people who hate us!”

Some on the other side, who - overwhelmed with images of burned flags and screaming mobs - may have forgotten the humanity of the Iraqi people (people we let down once before, and who had reason to distrust us and our commitment) may see these Muslims and Christians raising a cross together, in a language of brotherhood and gratitude, and say, “but…but…all those people are bad people…”

Some of us will discover that we have said or thought both things at one time or another. It’s not important which one of those people you are. It’s important, though, to get a sense of what is going on over there, where our people are serving, living and dying. It’s important to realize that where there is danger and tragedy, there is also progress and hope. In the major media outlets, we get big servings of the first two and very niggardly helpings of the latter. We need a more balanced diet of information.
I'm naive and idealistic. My opinion has always been that the Iraqis are people, people like any other, who suffered under the thumb of tyrany, who only ever saw excessive force achieve ends, who ruled by domination, who wished for a peace they thought impossible, who saw family murdered and yearned for vengeance, who were disoriented once faced with choices again and needed time to learn to trust.

In a government governed by themselves, they'd have to learn to trust themselves to choose wisely and then they'd have to learn to trust those chosen. In short, they were people like you or I who needed time to let their wings dry and learn to fly. Again, this is what The Anchoress says she sees:
What I see in this picture is something more than a historic moment - I don’t even know if that’s what we should call it - I see the sort of thing people do when they are neighbors, when they are working together for their neighborhood, for the good of all who live there, and that makes it seem less “historic” than calmly, wonderfully normal, ordinary, wholesome and sane. I see tolerance, which so many are so certain cannot exist in Iraq - or anywhere in the Middle East. Tolerance in the best sense of the word - converting no one, insisting on nothing beyond ordinary acceptance; tolerance that gives people room to live their lives.

Sometimes hope has felt foolish. Was it ignorance not idealism, that had my heart soar when President Bush waxed eloquent about the desire of all people to live free? Maybe. But I don't care. It seems better to be hopeful than cynical. Wretchtard over at Belmont Club says:

It is strange that in history every true victory is about the same thing -- not territorial expansion or power -- but the affirmation of the essential equality and brotherhood of man. [Emphasis on the whole thing, admin.]

Iraq may still yet fall into the dark. The people may choose war over reconciliation. The Middle East may yet be thrown into despair by an unstable Pakistani or Iranian regime. The Iraqis themselves, may trigger these happenings. Rest assured, all eyes are on Iraq as this phoenix rises from the sandy ashes of suicide bombers in the desert. Freedom for Iraq strikes fear into the heart of every other despot and it should.

It only takes one to make freedom ring. Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Gandhi, Mandela, Reagan, King. But those men were nothing without the individuals to take a chance on that vision. It started with the soldiers willing to fight for it. It started with the people willing to sacrifice blood and fortune for it. The Iraqi people are doing this. They exhibit extraordinary courage. These are people who have never seen this freedom and still believe.

Speaking of big ideas that too many Americans take for granted and some have seemed to forgotten entirely, Nickolas Sarkozy gave a breath-taking speech before Congress. It moved me to tears to watch it last night with my husband.

Summing up, as always, Glenn Reynolds says of Iraq (and I add, of Europe, too): "Let's hope these sentiments continue to spread."