Thursday, January 31, 2008

On Waterboarding

Does anyone really question whether waterboarding is torture? Read this and see what you think and then come back.

This really doesn't address the question, does it? Waterboarding doesn't leave a physical mark, it won't kill a person, and it works effectively. It is coercive. The person feels like he will die and will spill the beans, if he has any, quickly. To me, it's torture.

The question, though is this: Is torture worth it to prevent further catastrophe? If you caught an operative who knew the placement of a dirty bomb set to go off in a city, would you waterboard him? I would. Without guilt. I'd have some anxiety though.

It becomes a question of how accurate your information is about the dude you're about to torture. Torture in the hands of the sadistic and paranoid is one person's pain for another person's pleasure. That is wrong. And everyone advocating for no torture (which means only America or the Western countries don't torture, because we know Al Qaeda tortures and waterboarding is the least of their techniques) envisions some sinister government operative pulling out his briefcase of horror, chuckling in delight. This is a worrisome picture, indeed.

An act of torture to prevent the deaths of soldiers or citizens is not immoral. To do nothing, to let people die in the name of a principle is to put the principle--torture is wrong--above life itself. The life a scumbag terrorist is not valued over the lives of scores or hundreds or thousands of free people.

That's the uncomfortable truth under all the babbling about whether torture is wrong or not. Of course it's wrong. Mass murder is wrong, too. Those against the use of torture in all cases seem to be willing to detach themselves from the consequences of their actions. Nope, they're not responsible for the murder, when the murderer is sitting there with the information and they could stop it.

In a free country, we're all responsible. I think citizens have come to that uncomfortable place. You don't hear people lamenting a terrorist getting waterboarded to prevent death. Ok, maybe some at the fringes lament it, but most people are pragmatic. We're at war with an enemy who has no regard for life. So, he can forfeit his, if necessary, to preserve the lives of those who value it. Or, he can just bear the psychological scars inherent in being waterboarded. Add the trauma to the rest of his demented psyche.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Pull Back From the Noise"--UPDATED

This last weekend I went on a retreat of sorts with a girlfriend to a land far, far away (metaphorically speaking). Excised from society was such a relief, I didn't want to come back. Alas, I came back anyway. Clothes needed washing. Kids needed teaching. Life needed living. Still, it was nice to not be in the midst of the chronic ulcerated state of the political process.

The Florida primaries? Uninterested. Republican debates between ...... Oh, wait a minute. I'm painting my nails.

Frankly, Hill and Bill, I don't give a damn. The Congress, where most of the dirty work happens, is a bloated, corrupt oinker. Sucking power from the people one day at a time for their own pet projects while ignoring looming crises.

The presidential candidates seem the same to me. They've all been blandified by focus groups telling them to be less this and less that. It turns out that they all just seem less. Maybe that's why a bland guy like Obama seems so amazing. He's different! He's part black! Whoopee!

The Anchoress says to Pull Back From The Noise. Amen, sister. Her post is worth reading in its entirety. She ends with the idea of grateful prayer. Amen again.

Update: Some people are making da' noise.


Listen, economics is Greek to me, but I've learned a lot from my friend and fellow blogger Maxed Out Mama. Her reasoning is sound. She has been blogging up a storm about the latest developments:

A treatment for nagging. Hint: We should turn to Islam.

Why cutting interest rates is a good thing.

The housing market debacle that won't get better soon.

If you don't read Maxed Out Mama every day, why not? She is one of the brightest, funniest bloggers I know.

Monday, January 28, 2008

State of the Union

Does anyone think that we'll look back some day and pine for George W. Bush? I think we will. Especially when the next president would be putting in place socialist doctrine.

Healthy Weekend

According to this new research, my girls weekend away was very, very healthy:

"If you don't want to exercise too much," asks Dr. Morten Gronbaek, epidemiologist with Denmark's National Institute of Public Health, "can you trade it for one to two drinks per day and be fine?" A study Gronbaek and colleagues just published in the European Heart Journal suggests the answer just may be yes. That finding, not surprisingly, has proved to be a crowd-pleaser.
Drink up!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Creating Life

I'm not sure if we should be terrified or excited about this development. The implications of creating life.....

Bill Clinton Throws His Hat In The Ring

It was inevitable:

"My fellow Americans, I am sick and tired of not being president," said Clinton, introducing his wife at a "Hillary '08" rally. "For seven agonizing years, I have sat idly by as others experienced the joys of campaigning, debating, and interacting with the people of this great nation, and I simply cannot take it anymore. I have to be president again. I have to."

He continued, "It is with a great sense of relief that I say to all of you today, 'Screw it. I'm in.'"

Fixing Transplant Rejection

This is promising.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Republicans & Pork

With the exception of a tiny band of GOP senators led by Tom Coburn, R-OK, and Jim DeMint, R-SC, and House Minority Leader John Boehner, Republican Study Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling and the small caucus of anti-earmark conservatives, the congressional GOP is every bit as addicted to pork-barrel politics as the Democrats, if not even more so. (Porkbusters)
The Republicans just don't get it. And the Republicans running for President right now don't get it either. Being a greedy pig, upping taxes and being worse than Democrats gets Democrats elected.

I'll say it again: Hail, President Clinton.

Young & Dead

Just want to note here, the loss of Heath Ledger actor. It is a sad day when someone so young ends too soon without fulfilling his potential.

Good-bye Fred

I'm distressed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Self-Reliance & Government Run Health Care

The need for universal health care seems to have concentrated like the head of a zit. Congressmen have the urge to pop the pressure and will cause a mess and scarring if they fulfill their urge to "do something". But do American citizens really want managed care?

It seems some people do, but I have to imagine that they really have no comprehension of what that would mean in practical fact. The populace has certainly moved more interventionist domestically if the majority of people truly do want their health care paid for by someone else, and by someone else, they mean themselves and other tax payers.

The notion of self-reliance seems quaint these days. People are tired of boot-straps and scrimping, maybe. They dislike the uneasiness of being one health crisis away from ruin. The economy shows signs of slowing. They have debt. Their retirement accounts are dwindling thanks to the stock market taking a nose-dive. They're not quite desperate. Yet.

It is times like these that something for nothing looks mighty good. We all want to avoid pain. And if we can receive a benefit with no possible down-side then why not? But a big government program that takes over health care is a trade. We trade individual power for government power--yet again. And the more individuals cede to the government, the less likely the individual has control of his own life.

Americans have been schooled in passivity and compliance. From day care to public schools to college to grad school to jobs, the key to succeed is complying with the rules of whatever organization one is belongs to. There is something to be said to be a part of something bigger, more universal than oneself, but there is no great mission or value in relying on the government for health care. There is only more passive acceptance.

And really, it's accepting less than there is now. A delusional belief in empty political promises must be traded for freedom and choice. It's disturbing how willing Americans are to make that trade.

Caffeine & Miscarriage

Just wanted pass along this research. Anecdotally, I think it's right, just based on my own experience. I think caffeine may contribute to premature labor, too. Now this conclusion is right, too:

“Moderation in all things is still an excellent rule,” Dr. Westhoff said. “I think we tend to go overboard on saying expose your body to zero anything when pregnant. The human race wouldn’t have succeeded if the early pregnancy was so vulnerable to a little bit of anything. We’re more robust than that.”
The thing is, all women are different and have different sensitivities. Plus, people are so much more nutritionally deprived. A diet of empty calories might be tolerable normally, but a pregnant woman needs solid nutrition and to avoid stressors. She will face enough the way things go in our society, anyway.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It Doesn't Take Much To Change A Life

Have you read the stories where an elementary school teacher took an interest in a child, maybe told him once that he was smart and had a future and that was all it took? The child clung to those words and believed them and made them real in his life. The words and the love behind them literally changed the world for that person.

It doesn't take much to change a life.

A kind word, a word fitly spoken can be like rain on the seed of possibility for a person. But it takes love and awareness and the ability to see outside ourselves to give those words. And, it takes the same to receive them.

Recently, I've reconnected with some friends who have challenged me to examine my beliefs about myself and my world view. I've had the perfect friend-storm recently. And they have showered me with healing words, but I had to be ready for them.

It's strange. These friends have been here all along. The love was all around and untapped. We have to open ourselves up to the rain. For a seed to grow, it has to break open and accept the nutrition. Growth isn't a solitary process.

So here's another post to encourage you to open up, engage, and let the love flow in. For me, it has happened by being more proactive about letting the love flow out. Giving sweet, loving words costs nothing, but they can mean everything.

It doesn't take much to change a life.

Sunday's Picks--UPDATE

Who you picking? Everyone seems to hate New England, and personally, I dislike Brady, but he's a machine. Ya gotta admit that. I pick them to go all the way. Eli Manning is coming on strong and that's heartening. I've felt like he's been an underachiever and tentative in big situations. Hopefully he can toss the monkey off his back.

Brett Favre....Let's hear a cheer for the old guy! What's not to love? If he can stay put together, not slip and hurt himself, I hope he goes all the way. What cold-hearted person would root against him? He's an inspiration. I hope he wins the Super Bowl and retires with his frontal lobe in tact. I would hate for him to get hurt. He's had an amazing career.

Is there another team playing? Oh yeah.....the Chargers.

Who will win the game?
Chargers free polls

Who will win the game?
Giants free polls

Update: Stupid me! I didn't break out the teams. There will be more than one winner, that's for sure.

Why Buy The Fake, When You Can Have The Real Deal?

John McCain can't help himself.

I was watching the post-South Carolina interview on Fox where Sean Hannity threw McCain softballs. McCain still balked. (I'm not the only one noticing this. It was glaring.) On immigration, he "knows what to do because I'm from a border state". He said that he understood that people wanted border security. He wouldn't say that he wanted border security. On taxation, he wants to cut spending, or so he says. He grumped through a post-win interview--with a smile on his face, of course--but his hostility was barely hidden.

Is this playing with conservatives? The numbers I saw from Frank Luntz this morning show that it does. What the HELL are they thinking?

Personally, I think voters on the right are desperate. Lower and moderate income social conservatives feel the economic squeeze. Business owners feel the squeeze from the slowing economy. That alone might push Romney to the forefront. He sounds strong, confident and experienced on the economy. Iraq is going well. Immigration has faded as an issue. Suddenly, the pocketbook issues are coming to the forefront. Jeff Goldstein thinks this is what voters are thinking:

Which means that if Fred Thompson drops out of the race (aside: I have no idea what Republican primary voters are thinking — other than that they are no longer interested in conservatism, and have become every bit as statist as their progressive counterparts), I’m resigning myself to a Democratic presidency in 2008 — and to the years of pain that will follow should the Dems maintain control of both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Who knows? Maybe they even get the courts, too.

In other words, Hello “progressivism”! Which, as Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn can tell you, is simply another word for tyranny of bureaucracy under the auspices of an anti-individualistic, centralized coalition government — and is about as “American” (in the strictest, foundational sense) as caviar or goulash or the Yugo. Decline and fall.

Jeff captures my ennui perfectly. And this reminds me of what I've written before: bloggers are a different breed than the average American. The air we breath on the conservative side is as rarefied as the air breathed in newsrooms around America. Here's what I said average Americans want:
The average American has inhaled, had premarital sex, looks at porn, had an abortion but wish there were less of them, knows someone removed from life support and has gay friends. (The votes divide because half believe in trying to maintain the ideals while others feel we should let them go.) The average American lives in a nice house, tries to recycle and worries about Global Warming. The average American works hard, thinks Europeans are pansies and worries about terrorism and the best way to deal with it. The average American is ambivalent about Iraq but is uncomfortable with repeating the Vietnam performance. The average American believes most of the leaders are corrupt wind-bags, but what are you going to do? They like their guy. (Kinda like they like their lawyer, but lawyers in general stink.) The average American hasn't looked all that deeply into the issues, but feels a certain way and votes that way. Political bloggers are not average Americans--they are more attached to ideals and more convinced of their views.

By the time the election rolls around, a solid recession will have sucked the energy, never mind money, and Americans will be jittery, looking for solid. This bodes well for Clinton--as the populace still identifies the name Clinton with golden years (even though the economy has been stronger under Bush).

Speaking of narratives (which The Anchoress does)..... You know, the stuff that is axiomatic, that we all believe because the press pushes forward the idea, can anyone believe anything any of these people say? This year more than any other, I feel that the candidates are willing to say anything to get elected. And so McCain can, with a relatively straight face, imply that he wants border security when he wants no such thing. Huckabee bleats on about small government. Romney pretends at social conservatism.

For all my irritation with George W. Bush from time to time, he campaigned on certain issues and those issues drove his presidency. There were no surprises--at least to me. He campaigned on issues and then, when he became President, he acted on them. The current candidates are "evolving" as they go. We expect this from Democrats, but it is disturbing to have the Republican candidates tap dancing their way through the primaries. Not only that, it's disturbing what messages are succeeding--essentially Democratic messages.

The net effect? A Democrat as President and her name will be Hillary Clinton. And yes, that's a prediction.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

UPDATED: Betsy notes this:
I can well envision a President McCain working with a Democratic congress to enact legislation to stifle innovation and research done by drug companies to treat terrible diseases. And it would all be done with that self-satisfied smirk of the self-righteous who believe that they have done something wonderful for the common man while they stifle one American industry that leads the world in helping the world - our pharmaceutical industry. And once they have killed off the goose, there will be many fewer golden eggs to use in fighting all sorts of dread diseases. There is a reason why countries that have drastically reduced the profit incentive for drug companies to do research into new drugs don't have that sort of industry anymore.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis in search of disease. It is descriptive of symptoms that vary from person to person. Doctors who even acknowledge the existence of fibromyalgia give the diagnosis as a last resort. To me, the diagnosis just means that the cause of the problems haven't been found.

Now a new drug to treat this ailment has been approved by the FDA. But to treat what? This is the heart of the controversy:

For patient advocacy groups and doctors who specialize in fibromyalgia, the Lyrica approval is a milestone. They say they hope Lyrica and two other drugs that may be approved this year will legitimize fibromyalgia, just as Prozac brought depression into the mainstream.

But other doctors — including the one who wrote the 1990 paper that defined fibromyalgia but who has since changed his mind — say that the disease does not exist and that Lyrica and the other drugs will be taken by millions of people who do not need them.

In some respects, the argument doesn't matter. The pain and symptoms are real enough. The question is what to do to help the patients. Often diet, exercise, and righting sleep problems can cure the problem. One of my first patients had "fibromyalgia". The cause was two-fold, but it took months of hunting to find the problems. First, she had banned pesticides from the 70s that had been seeping into their house. They removed that. Second, her husband snored something fierce and she hadn't slept for more than two hours in a row for over fifteen years. The latter problem was not something either of us thought of right from the beginning, but actually sleeping did more to reverse her symptoms than anything.

Here's my fibromyalgia protocol:
  1. No naps.
  2. No caffeine.
  3. Set bed time.
  4. Set bed time ritual.
  5. Set wake-up time.
  6. Light aerobic exercise for no more than 15 minutes around 3-4 p.m. (no later)
  7. Lots of water.
  8. Fresh diet: fruits, veggies, meat, light on carbs.
  9. Testing for food allergies.
  10. Testing for sub-clinical virus/bacteria infection.
  11. Support the immune system.
  12. Support other weak systems (right the hormones, if that's a problem).
There is no one treatment plan for fibromyalgia. There is no magic treatment plan. Often, the woman's health has deteriorated over decades. She has either been malnourished or had a virus she never recovered from or some other chronic stressor has chipped away at her health. Building back the body, and then psychologically getting congruent with the healing is often a long-term proposition.

With fibromyalgia, the woman has often felt crummy for years and years and just can't imagine not feeling bad. She doesn't remember what healthy felt like. She spends her days feeling the pain and that exacerbates the pain and further sensitizes her to it. It's a vicious cycle. She has also been dismissed by a multitude of doctors. She may end up in pain management. She may end up in the psychiatrist's office. And, she might need both, but she feels that her history and story haven't been honored.

With many fibromyalgia sufferers, there is often an underlying event that precipitates the episode. It takes some detective work to get to it. Sometimes the "cause" is never found but with enough lifestyle changes, the syndrome can be managed. Anecdotally, I've found that many fibromyalgia sufferers have suffered childhood traumas such as abuse, sexual abuse or something similar. This is not so strange. One of the history questions for Junior Rheumatoid Arthritis is whether the child has an alcoholic parent. Very often, he or she does. I have yet to work with a fibromyalgia patient who doesn't have an emotional component to the syndrome.

These ladies, and some men, need encouragement and support. They are, without fail, sensitive souls who I believe "absorb" the pain around them. Helping them to create boundaries both in their relationships and for their own psychological safety is paramount to future health. It is a frustrating disease and the people who endure the pain experience real suffering.

So, while I believe that fibromyalgia is a bogus diagnosis and shouldn't be masked with some new drug sure to score pharmaceutical companies money, I believe that these patients should be taken seriously. Something is wrong. That something needs to be found. And in these days of managed care, rushed appointments and overtaxed doctors, patients are often dismissed as crazy. It's just easier than admitting that the doctor is baffled.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

iPhone's New Software Updates

So, I love my iPhone. Love. It. It goes with me everywhere and does almost everything I want it to. They updated something, though, and it ticks me off. One nice feature of the phone is the ability to dump all your email addresses into one place using POP. That means I can see my email, keep it, delete it, but it's still in my Gmail file. Well, now, Apple has this IMAP deal and when you delete a message on your phone, it's deleted everywhere. Me no likey. And there's no way to change it. So, I have to stare at a bloated in-box on my iPhone just like I have to stare at one in my Gmail account.

I'm not alone in my irritation. Apple needs to allow both formats. This is not a big deal. When is it a good idea to take away flexibility? Hmmm....??

On an up note, last week while running, my iPhone popped out of my pocket, fell on the ground and I stepped on it. The bottom part came a bit loose, but everything worked okay. Still, everything wasn't smooth and flush and I feared that a mere bump would cause a problem. So, I took it into the store with trepidation. I didn't deserve mercy, that's for sure, but I have a zillion Mac things now, and have paid for extended warranties on everything including the iPhone. The guy looked at it and said, "We'll just replace it." I was stunned and thrilled. Wow. What service!

I already tell everyone about the phone and how much I love it and all the other Mac products, too. Now, I'm letting you all know that the great thing about buying Mac these days isn't just superior products, but superior service and support. Half the time, we have these machines and don't know what the heck we're doing. Apple helps you figure it out. That alone is worth the extra bucks for their product. Good luck finding a Dell person to help you use the software and figure everything out.

Pretty Pee

We've discussed contraptions created for the purpose of helping women pee better. Now, there's this for men. I kinda like it, but the price tag is a bit steep.

No Cold Medicine For Babies

Really, no one should take them, they do no good and only mask symptoms. Cold medicine for children is downright harmful:

The reason: There's no evidence that these oral drugs actually ease cold symptoms in children so young — some studies suggest they do no good at all. And while serious side effects are fairly rare, they do occur. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year reported that more than 1,500 babies and toddlers wound up in emergency rooms over a two-year period because of the drugs.

"It's one thing if you're curing cancer, but we're talking about a self-limiting illness," said Sharfstein. "If there's really no evidence of benefit, you don't want to risk the rare problem. Then you're left with tragedy that you can't justify."

Specialists are back to recommending old-fashioned steps, such as plenty of fluids and rest, saline drops to loosen stuffy noses, and humidifiers while sleeping.

This is good advice. Another piece of advice: nurse your children as long as possible. It will loosen mucous, the mother produces antibodies to the virus the child is fighting, the jaw motion helps keep the ear canal unplugged and the baby/toddler will nurse when it wouldn't eat so the baby doesn't get dehydrated.

People Don't Kill People, Bats Kill People

Well, they can hurt people, anyway.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Boomers Bust?

Megan McCardle writes the best article I've read about the implications of the Baby Boom generation on America. A snippet:

One of the greatest challenges for the country will be creating good jobs for seniors, ideally ones closer to where they built their skills and knowledge than the aisles of Staples or Home Depot—ones in which they’ll be the most productive. There’s no national bureau that can bring about this change. It must emerge organically, from companies learning to accommodate their older workers on the one hand, and finding creative ways to mask or reduce the emotional impact of pay cuts on the other. And from changed expectations on the part of 60-somethings about career paths and hierarchy.

Until that happens—and even once it does—our politics are likely to be contentious, because to many people, spanning several generations, it may feel as if there’s not enough money to go around. And indeed there’s no getting around these facts: in 1945, the year before the Baby Boomers began entering the world, each retiree in America was supported by 42 workers. Now each retiree is supported by three. When the Boomers are fully retired, each of them will be supported by just two.
Read the whole thing.

H/T Instapundit


One of the chief ways to be happy is to be grateful. Unhappiness comes from concentrating on what we don't have rather than what we do have. So, today in the middle of January, when the reality of Christmas bills, a slowing economy and the gray sky blahs set in, it's time to be thankful. Time to look at what's all around us and see the good and be grateful.

For my part, this last year and even now, my life has been filled by renewed friendships. That has filled me with extraordinary gratitude and thankfulness. And even better, I've made new friends. You all know who you are and I want you to know that I am profoundly thankful for you!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On The "Moral Instinct"

Scientists work feverishly to unravel the mysteries of the mind and they are many. In The Time's Magazine this week, Stephen Pinker writes about what motivates man's moral decisions. He calls it the "moral instinct". Instinct implies that men are born encoded with morality--it's instinctual. Perhaps. My thought is that man is born with the bias toward morality.

So there are five factors that appear to be encoded to people's moral sense no matter where they live in the world:

When anthropologists like Richard Shweder and Alan Fiske survey moral concerns across the globe, they find that a few themes keep popping up from amid the diversity. People everywhere, at least in some circumstances and with certain other folks in mind, think it’s bad to harm others and good to help them. They have a sense of fairness: that one should reciprocate favors, reward benefactors and punish cheaters. They value loyalty to a group, sharing and solidarity among its members and conformity to its norms. They believe that it is right to defer to legitimate authorities and to respect people with high status. And they exalt purity, cleanliness and sanctity while loathing defilement, contamination and carnality.

The exact number of themes depends on whether you’re a lumper or a splitter, but Haidt counts five — harm, fairness, community (or group loyalty), authority and purity — and suggests that they are the primary colors of our moral sense. Not only do they keep reappearing in cross-cultural surveys, but each one tugs on the moral intuitions of people in our own culture.
So every culture exhibits these traits to one extent or another. However, buried in the midst of the article is this fascinating tid-bit:
The ranking and placement of moral spheres also divides the cultures of liberals and conservatives in the United States. Many bones of contention, like homosexuality, atheism and one-parent families from the right, or racial imbalances, sweatshops and executive pay from the left, reflect different weightings of the spheres. In a large Web survey, Haidt found that liberals put a lopsided moral weight on harm and fairness while playing down group loyalty, authority and purity. Conservatives instead place a moderately high weight on all five. It’s not surprising that each side thinks it is driven by lofty ethical values and that the other side is base and unprincipled.
So, Republicans do value a broad-based morality after all. Well, according to the writer, not so fast. Morality, even Hitler's, is relative and can be understood:
At the very least, the science tells us that even when our adversaries’ agenda is most baffling, they may not be amoral psychopaths but in the throes of a moral mind-set that appears to them to be every bit as mandatory and universal as ours does to us. Of course, some adversaries really are psychopaths, and others are so poisoned by a punitive moralization that they are beyond the pale of reason. (The actor Will Smith had many historians on his side when he recently speculated to the press that Hitler thought he was acting morally.) But in any conflict in which a meeting of the minds is not completely hopeless, a recognition that the other guy is acting from moral rather than venal reasons can be a first patch of common ground. One side can acknowledge the other’s concern for community or stability or fairness or dignity, even while arguing that some other value should trump it in that instance. With affirmative action, for example, the opponents can be seen as arguing from a sense of fairness, not racism, and the defenders can be seen as acting from a concern with community, not bureaucratic power. Liberals can ratify conservatives’ concern with families while noting that gay marriage is perfectly consistent with that concern.
So there is no objective right or wrong, morality is subjective. What Pinker fails to acknowledge is how to come to a moral decision when both parties feel morally correct. Clearly, there are psychopaths, clearly. But maybe the psychopath believes he's being moral--how many serial killers exact their form of "justice" on prostitutes? And who are you to say he's wrong?

Who is any man to decide, indeed? The whole article is worth reading, but like most things scientific, don't expect any answers to the big questions. Expect more questions.

The Racist, Sexist Democrats--UPDATE

If you're black, does it mean you're going to vote for Barack Obama?

If you're a woman, does it mean you're going to vote for Hillary Clinton?

Big feminists line up behind Hillary. How surprising! Blacks line up behind Barack Obama. And this is all on the Left. I seem to remember this little speech by this historical figure who said this:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
I'm guessing that Martin Luther King wasn't interested in his children being judged by their reproductive organs, either, but if they're members of the current Democratic party, they'll be making judgments on exactly that. Democrats are all about skin color and gonads. Integrity and character seem of secondary concern.

These days, you can be a "wrong" kind of Democrat--Hillary just got booed in New York at the Martin Luther King Rally. And people are reacting to Hillary and Obama's "tussling" over who understands black America better. Are we really having this conversation?

We're having this conversation. The Democrats might be snickering about the Religious Right's hold on the Republican party, but the ideal held by Democrats--that we're defined not by character but by our form--is currently tearing them apart.

When one of them wins the nomination, will the opposition within their own party be able to be healed? It seems like this election has the potential to divide more than red and blue. This election has the potential to divide black and white, men and women, young and old.

Civil rights leaders a generation ago dreamed that one day blacks and women would have equal opportunity to be anything, do anything. And look! Today, in America, a black man and a middle-aged woman run to be the ruler of the free world. It should be a day to celebrate. Instead, the Left is being torn asunder by concentrating on the gender and color instead of the character of their candidates. Of course, if they focused on character, they'd have other problems.


As usual, The Anchoress is reading from the same page and putting it together better. Here's what she says:
Okay. I doubt I’m alone in wondering how much sub-conscious bigotry is being unearthed by Obama’s candidacy - but that’s for another post. Certainly, since Obama is a Democrat, we will not see the sort of racist cartoons and offensive photoshopped images the left have offered up to depict Condoleeza Rice or Michael Steele, so that’s a mercy, anyhow.
And about Hillary Clinton (long quote, but I want you to read it):

I recall reading that Hillary Rodham Clinton was a graduate of Yale School of Law and a partner in the prestigious Rose Law Firm, in Arkansas.

So, it was a little surprising to see her say this while pandering at a job-training center in California:

Clinton…said she understood borrowers who didn’t read their mortgages. “I’ve got to tell you, I skim my mortgage papers. I didn’t read them. I didn’t know there was all that fine print and those pages and pages of legalese,” she said.

[emphasis mine - admin]

So, after - by her count - 35 years of public life, Hillary has “found her voice,” and her voice is full of shit.

Hillary wants to be president so badly that she’ll even pretend to be stupider than the meanest caricature of George W. Bush if that’s what it takes. I read that quote and wondered if she’d thought to put on buckteeth and her ghastly hillbilly twang while she unloaded that disingenuous bit of horse manure.

The only politician I can think of who is more manure-laden than Hillary is her husband; the amount of it they shoveled this weekend alone could fill a truck.

Couple all that with these racial gaffes. Once upon a time Mrs. Clinton would pander to the African-American voters, declaring “I don’t feel no ways tired” (try listening to that today - it’s shudder-inducing) and “you know what I’m talkin’ about,” Lately, Mrs. Clinton, in her new voice, seemed to minimize the work of Dr. Martin Luther King and ascribe the success of the civil rights movement to President Lyndon Johnson.

This election is turning over the Democrat's rock and revealing a lot of nasty stuff.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fred Thompson's Hotness Factor

I want Fred Thompson to win the Republican nomination. (Did you hear he's surging in South Carolina?) And it's not just that the other candidates stink for various and sundry reasons--which I'll run through momentarily--or that he's the best of the worst or something. I want Fred for his own reasons.

Let's run through the problems with the other guys:

John McCain: He marches to his own little drummer who doesn't know the conservative rhythm. Of course there's McCain-Feingold that nifty little piece of legislation who's chief beneficiary was George Soros, but there's this other little thing: his only consistent conservative feature is his military stance, which I admit I admire. It's not enough.

Mitt Romney: Tall, presidential looking, good hair, smart. I should love him, but I don't. My suspicion isn't evangelical in nature--ewww, he's a Mormon, he frightens me! It's more, ewww, he succeeded in Massachusetts, he frightens me! Also, he came across as bitchy in the last debate.

Rudy Giuliani: I like him. He gives the press heck. He won't back off a fight. He possesses the right kind of moral indignation at psychopaths routinely given a pass. Still, he's no conservative. But he's better than most.

Ron Paul: He's a loon.

Mike Huckabee: He's a loon with a TV evangelist grin, but boy can he smile. His post-loss speech in New Hampshire was euphoric hope--like Obama but pasty, white, and Boomerish.

And then there's Fred Thompson. Fred Thompson has it all. He has conservative cred. He has experience. He can communicate. He gives journalists the respect they deserve.

But there's more. A president has to have a certain je ne sais quoi. Fred has it. He's middle American. He has the slight lilt. He comes across as real. He's likable. Guys can imagine going out for a beer with him. Girls dig him.

Now, that above assessment might bug you, but it's important, especially in the general election. Voters dig Alpha Males and so do certain bloggers. Can you imagine going for a beer with Romney, Huckabee, or Paul? No. How about Edwards, Clinton or Obama? Maybe Obama, but it'd be a martini or glass of wine, let's be real, here. Giuliani could have a good time at the bar, but aren't you just a little afraid he might go on a bender? Thompson would have a drink, talk sports, know the waitress's name and go home to his wife.

About women. I dig Thompson. He's not conventionally cute. Heck, none of the candidates are that great looking save Romney. Thompson has that easy talk, the relaxed authority that is fun to be around. He's the guy girls choose and the other dudes marvel.

I happen to think that the more people learn about Thompson, the more they'll like. Soon we'll have a Huckabust. And then Romney will loose his zip. McCain will hang in like the pit-bull he is. Giuliani will have misplayed his cards and gambled too big. And Ron Paul will be recommitted to the institution he broke out of to campaign for President--oh yeah, that would be the House of Representatives.

Thompson has a chance.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Losing Freedom One Bureaucrat At A Time

Canada offers a text-book way to make sure the bad guys win: constrain the good guys. You don't have to even kill the good guys, just muzzle them. (This is a MUST view.)

The link above relates to the Mohammed cartoons that so offended Muslims. Rioting, murder, and general mayhem ensued (Mark Steyn says it better). And now, the insanity of the out-of-control Muslims aren't being questioned, but the brave publishers who had the nerve to share news is being questioned. And the questioner has a part right out of a Tolstoy novel.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

H/T Instapundit

Friday, January 11, 2008

Expect More Tears

Hillary Clinton's tears moved me. They did. I watched her lilting performance and felt bad for her. She cares. She has a serious vision for the country. She's a working woman busting her butt in a male-dominated industry.

My empathy lasted for all of 20 seconds. Then I wondered: Who coached her? Wow, they must be good. She's crying because she's seeing her ambitions thwarted. Hmmmm, the reporters are eating it up.

Given the nature of this election and the nature of our Oprah-fied culture, I'd say that we should expect more Hillary histrionics. They'll happen. Rest assured.

I don't like tears from public servants. I didn't like them from George Bush or Rudy Giuliani and I don't like them from Hillary Clinton. I like my public servants stoic, QE2 style. But that isn't what works.

Emotional manipulation works and emotional manipulation is what we'll get--whether it's Obama earnestly opining about change or Hillary sniffling because no one gets her grand vision (for herself).

And I'm just writing this because everyone seems to be writing on it. Let's face it, the press overplayed their hands. All the Obamisms clouded their vision about the Democratic field. The press is still blind--they see what they want to see and report what they want you to see. And if Hillary comes back around to being on top, they'll relearn to love her because she'll be the only anecdote to the poison they perceive on the right.

This mind-numbing reliability is why I took a brief hiatus.

iPhone Two Months Later

Shhhhhh, don't tell my husband, but I dropped my iPhone while running today from about three feet, in motion, onto the cement. It's fine. Nary a scrape. Whew. The thing does seem nigh to indestructible.

You might like to know how the iPhone is going. The touch screen is no problem, not great yet for blogging, but still, I use it to email and surf and it's fine. And there's cool new aps for it. (More here.) I'm not a Starbucks fan, but the idea of ordering my drink, pushing a button to pay for it and then picking up the coffee is way cool. I'm still waiting for Apple to create a teleportation device that just puts the drink in your car cup-holder, but I think they're still working on it.

Update: The iPhone just didn't change phones, it changed the industry. Perhaps the most annoying group of businesses in the U.S. is in the Telecom industry. Archaic and abusive to their customers, they need shaking up. The iPhone is just the start.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Republican Debate


Ron Paul is a loon.

There are too many on this stage. No one can get a cogent thought out there.

The crowd loves Huckabee. He has a soothing voice and open face and it almost doesn't matter what he says.

Romney bugs me. Just plain bugs me.

I love Thompson. Why isn't he doing better? 

I like Giuliani, too, and he's got an ice-cube's chance at this point.

And McCain sounded good especially with military stuff, but he seems one-dimensional.

Did I mention that Ron Paul is a loon?

Sexy Lefty

Nearly every day, John Hawkins posts links to hot looking girls in bikinis. Even the venerable Instapundit resorted to sexy links in the ostensible name of French politics.

Well, men, they need equal time, don't they? In this cheesecake world, men don't get their fair share of superficial lascivious attention. Time to change that.

The hottie of the day is leftist in the extreme. He actually moved to France when all the whiners talked about it. No matter. He's hot. He can have a brain the size of a walnut, that's not why anyone loves Johnny. We love Johnny because his swashbuckling saunter is nice, isn't it? Aye matey!

Writer's Strike

The Writer's Strike hasn't bothered me content-wise although I do feel bad for all the people who are losing their jobs while the entertainment business is out of business. It seems that writers may have picked the worse possible time to strike. No one may want their product when they return, if you believe these numbers. People are moving to on-line entertainment.

Welcome, friends!

Autism & Genetic Mutation

I suspect that there are many causes for autism. To me, no possibilities should be dismissed, including the possibility that immunizations, or the mercury or preservative agents cause problems for children, too. Today, though, new research confirms genetic mutations, mutations that occur before fertilization which implies a genetic, inherited component for some children.

Go to an autism conference and look at the parents. This is not a stretch. There are probably as many mutations as there are groups of people.

Clintons, The Left and Fickle Suiters

Have you been amused at the way the press and the Left turned on the Clintons? I have to admit to indulging in a bit of schadenfreude. What can I say? Live by that sword, die by it. Evidently, I'm not alone in my feelings. Dr. Sanity lays it out as only she can:

Actually, the anger that many on the left are currently directing at the Clintons post-New Hampshire, and that we on the right are observing with mixed astonishemnt and amusement--is in many ways, quite remarkable. Those of us from the conservative side of things have had a long tradition of dislike of the Clintons--husband and wife. Sometimes this dislike has become so intense and overpowering that it has clouded--or at least impeded rational judgments about either.

So it is particularly surprising to see the people who for years adored the happy couple; sanctified and righteously defended Bill, and beatified Hillary while holding her up as a model for all women, suddenly--and with so very little alteration in the essential behavior that either bill or Hill have displayed for the last 15 years--screaming with outrage at their former pets.

No wonder Hillary cried in public. She has been betrayed by the Democrats and the left in the same casual way her fickle husband has been betraying her throughout their marriage.
Well, the Left does seem fickle. And, it's interesting that the stalwart Clintonites on the Left come from the unions, the elderly, etc. In short, the average Americans, so scorned by the Clintons are the ones supporting Hillary now.

We'll see how this plays out, but I suspect outrage should the far Left be denied their "change" meme. They know Hillary for the changling that she is. They know she's expedient and they liked that ruthless, fierce, relentless ambition when it suited them. But now! Now, they have a new, fresh face who is even more leftist ideologically but smoother, too.

The dream ticket would be Obama as Pres and Clinton as Veep. I'm still going with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket. But time will tell.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Obama's Muslim Past

I got an email today from a family member about Obama's religious background. Let me just say that the danger I perceive from this man is that he's a socialist and an inexperienced and untested one at that. His Muslim father and step-father have influenced him, but good luck finding out honestly, how.

Read more at Jihad Watch. I think Robert is right.

Spinal Chord Injuries & Belief

New research shows that the central nervous system can reorganize itself after spinal injury, via Slashdot:

For the first time, a UCLA study shows that the central nervous system can reorganize itself and follow new pathways to restore the cellular communication required for movement. The lead researcher said, "This pessimistic view [that severe injury to the spinal cord means permanent paralysis] has changed over my lifetime, and our findings add to a growing body of research showing that the nervous system can reorganize after injury."
There are as many false beliefs in science as there are in religion. Many of the limitations stem directly from beliefs. I can only wonder how many spinal chord injured patients sit in a wheel chair because they were told that "they'd never walk again" and they believed it.

And yet, there has always been conflicting evidence. Doctors have seen people who should be dead, who shouldn't walk, get up and live and walk with the exact same injury another person sustained that kept them incapacitated for life. Consider this:
Less than a third of patients walk again after a spinal cord injury, whereas every one of them wants to try. Residual function, energy expenditure, the extent of orthotic support needed, and patient motivation will determine the outcome.s:
What is not mentioned is the belief of the care givers on the case. That matters. After an injury there is a critical time both psychologically and physiologically for the patient. He needs to hear hope and encouragement. He needs an authority's belief to believe himself because the road will be long and hard, no matter the outcome.

There is no such thing as false hope, only hope. And limiting beliefs can have life-altering consequences.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Are Women Never Frontrunners and Is Obama Offering Despair?

If the lawyer described above had been just as charismatic but named, say, Achola Obama instead of Barack Obama, her goose would have been cooked long ago. Indeed, neither she nor Hillary Clinton could have used Mr. Obama’s public style — or Bill Clinton’s either — without being considered too emotional by Washington pundits.

Is Gloria Steinem right? Quite a few men I know think so. This is very interesting to me, because as a woman, I don't like Hillary for the same reasons I don't like Obama and Edwards--I find her policies repugnant. But some men I know, one called her a "beast of a woman", dislike her viscerally. Now, another friend says it's not because she's a woman, but a woman with horrible baggage. And that's true, too.

Well, Hillary just won New Hampshire, so maybe the voters will pick a woman there. Time will tell.

Now, onto Obama, the man audacious enough to hope. Hope what? Shrinkwrapped has a piece you absolutely must read about Obama. He describes, better than anyone the emptiness of Obama's campaign:

Some of these thoughts have been sparked by Barak Obama's peculiar construction of The Audacity of Hope. (I have not read the book and do not plan to; I am strictly concerned with the title and its meaning.) I have thus far found Barak Obama to be a very appealing and very interesting candidate. At the same time I am struck by the paucity of details in his presentation. His speeches are uplifting but platitudinous. Beyond his record, brief though it is, of traditional left-leaning Democratic liberalism, his major appeal appears to be his "audacity of hope." The language is almost an oxymoron. COnsider Audacity:

au·dac·i·ty [aw-das-i-tee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -ties. 1. boldness or daring, esp. with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.
2. effrontery or insolence; shameless boldness: His questioner's audacity shocked the lecturer.
3. Usually, audacities. audacious acts or statements.

Audacity is an acitve, aggressive word.

Contrast with Hope.

Hope, Shrink points out, is all you have when everything is lost:

There is absolutely nothing audacious about Hope; if anything it is the last shred we hold onto when despair threatens. It requires no "boldness or daring," no "confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions" to have Hope.

Hope is what we have left when events have overtaken us and we have recognized that the outcome is independent of our efforts. We can no longer control or influence events, we can merely Hope that Zeus will be merciful on us.

The spirit of passivity that accompanies Hope fits with the traditional liberalism (proposed by populists on both left and right) that proposes larger government as the answer to our current difficulties.

On the Left and the Right, the field is filled with deeply flawed people. Either lacking in character or empty of vision or small-minded or too slick, the candidates all seem to be problematic in a major way. Some might say it's the over-analysis by the press or the exceedingly long season that's heightening the flaws, but I don't think so.

The next American president doesn't seem destined for greatness, no matter who he or she may end up being.

That's What I'm Sayin'

There are times when I think the blogosphere is an echo chamber. In fact, I wonder what the heck I'm doing when people smarter and more articulate are out there saying exactly what I think. Today James Lileks wrote such a post:

Huckabee: he makes me recoil, instinctively. Some of this has to do with his positions, but it’s mostly the particular flavor of his religiosity and the thickness of its application to his campaign. People who think he’s some Elmer Gantry-type who’ll run around tossing flag-wrapped Bibles into the crowd overstate the case, but still: he just strikes me as one of those fellows who’ll treat you with respect and friendship and good cheer, and you know he thinks you’re going to hell. No, that’s not fair, but there it is. I don’t think he’s a phony - Bill Clinton was a phony, but he was such a genuine heartfelt phony it didn’t matter. Huckabee just rubs me the wrong way. Nothing more profound or irrational than that.

Mitt Romney? Super-brainy smart, a proven administrator, impeccably decent. In some parallel universe where good is bad and bad is good and James Bond serves Satan, Mitt Romney is Blofeld. He’s an admirable man in many ways. But my favorite finely-crafted piece of Stickley furniture is an admirable piece of wood in many ways, too. I cannot warm to Romney.

Lileks has so much more to say and it's all worth reading.

Read More This Year

Time for New Years resolutions, right? Many people commit to reading more in the new year and that's a fantastic goal. How to get there? Some good ideas here.

HD DVD vs. Blue Ray

Blue Ray wins. I wouldn't be buying an HD DVD player anytime soon folks. Bad investment.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Islam & Women

I'm not going to belabor this point, but it is laughable to me the multi-culti types who ignore the treatment of women in Islam even as they, justifiably at times, condemn Christianity's mistreatment of women.

Sometimes a picture tells a thousand words. And more pictures tell even more stories. Pamela Gellar shows rather than tells the story. You need to see this story.

Iran Provokes the U.S.: Open War .... Almost

You should know about this, if you haven't read about it already.

Why Populism Rings True Right Now

Huckabee's rise and the success on the left of all the big three candidates (and their seeming dead heat and similar message) brings populism front and center. For democracy to work in America and in successful nations around the world, there needs to be a sense of fairness. Opportunities need to be available to everyone and there needs to be a sense of safety. This last issue has grown as people have taken on the entitlement attitude. They expect social security. They expect Medicare. They expect drug benefits. And with the medical-insurance problems and the threat of economic woe should a person have a health issue, American citizens expect the government to fix it. And by "fix", I mean that someone else should pay for their problems. Oh, and the economy can never go into a recession, because that will cause problems, too.

Conservatives have ignored this strain within the party. The true believers--anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, evangelicals--are not necessarily small-government libertarians. (And this type of thing incenses them.) George Bush recognizes this fact, I think, which is why he pushed through the No Child Left Behind bill and the Prescription Drug Benefit. That's his definition of compassionate conservatism.

Huckabee gets this and I think the other candidates ignore this streak in the party to their own peril. There must be some answers to why small government is important. And there must be some answers for the middle class who feel squeezed and one check away from disaster. They might not like the answers, but their difficulties need to be acknowledged. (Of course, if Huckabee's out, then the others can keep pounding their personal messages.)

And then there's the environment. I know this sounds strange, but I've said before and I'll say it again: there are many on the conservative side who feel the environment is an important issue. Like abolition and equal rights, stewardship of the earth is a Christian issue. Some of the most ardent recyclers are Christians motivated to "dress and keep" the earth. They are zealous and dedicated.

In order for the Republican candidates to resonate with these constituents, they're going to have to recognize who's voting for them. Ignoring issues that matter to voters is never a good idea. And while a Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney may do well in the general election, these guys have to appeal to a complex base first. It's not all God and guns and it's not all small government and tax breaks in the Republican party.

Truly, the Republican party is a big, diverse tent, far more so than the Democrats. The Democrats just want a Democrat in office at this point--Hillary, Obama or Edwards would all do nicely. They're the same person just in different colors, shapes and clothes. But the Republican part has grown more diverse as time has gone on. That partly explains the diversity of the candidates.

The candidate who wins on the Republican side will be the one who appeals to the diverse many. I think they all need to tweak their messages.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Free Speech and Radical Islam in Canada

I have been following the persecution of Mark Steyn from the beginning, but the story must be reaching critical mass because my brother sent a link to this article with the note saying "You have to blog on this asap!"

Free speech seems to be a uniquely American notion these days as other democracies are caving to politically correct demands. In Canada, an excerpt from Mark Steyn's book America Alone prompted this, as Steyn himself describes:

I don't know whether my bestselling book is still available in Canadian bookstores, but it's coming soon to a Canadian "courtroom" near you! The Canadian Islamic Congress and a handful of Osgoode Hall law students have complained about the article in Maclean's to (at last count) three of Canada's many "human rights" commissions, two of which have agreed to hear the "case." It would be nice to report that the third sent the plaintiffs away with a flea in their ears saying that in a free society it's no business of the state to regulate the content of privately owned magazines. Alas, I gather it's only bureaucratic torpor that has temporarily delayed the province of Ontario's en thusiastic leap upon the bandwagon. These students are not cited in the offending article. Canadian Muslims are not the subject of the piece. Indeed, Canada is not mentioned at all, except en passant. Yet Canada's "human rights" commissions have accepted the premise of the Canadian Islamic Congress--that the article potentially breaches these students' "human rights."

This legal imbroglio will pave the way for more speech suppression if the case goes the way the Islamic agitators hope. What speech offends you? And what should happen to those who offend you? Roast them, I say! Steyn notes the obvious:

CBC commentator Rex Murphy said Maclean's should not have to defend itself for starting debate and stirring thought.

"Is every touchy, or agenda-driven sensibility now free to call upon the offices of the state and ... embroil them in 'justifying' their right to write and broadcast as they see fit?" he asked on CBC's flagship news program, The National.

Steyn said the CIC and law students acting on its behalf aimed to shut down debate by making it more trouble than it's worth for editors to run pieces on controversial topics.

But he added, "In using quasi-judicial coercion to squash debate, they make one of the central points of my argument -- that a proportion of Islam is inimical to Western traditions of freedom -- more eloquently than I ever could."

I have read Steyn's book. It sits on my bookshelf in all its red splendor. The way to rebel against this sort of nonsense is to support Mark Steyn. Buy his book today. Here. Or here are some other links on how to support him:

National Review

Or send a book to the Saudi's. They need some edumacation.

Searching for a Savior

Every four years, America takes personal stock and rechecks the direction of the country. Americans look at themselves, they look at their family, friends and neighbors, they look at society and they look at the world. What they see usually isn't good. Since George Washington took office until now, America has looked like an unmitigated mess in need of a Savior.

So, the search for the new savior begins. Some want a fresh new-face savior. Some want a savior with experience saving. But all want as perfect a savior as can be found.

Most of the savior wannabes wink and nod at the savior expectations and have strong pragmatic bent. That's the nature of politics. Survival means making deals and often the deals are good but not great, morally OK but not ideologically pure. And the new crop is no different. For all the lofty change rhetoric or unspoken but obvious change (Hillary, a woman for president), the Democrat candidates are cut from the same bolt of bland liberal cloth. They are closet socialists but would have to fight tooth and nail with a divided Congress to achieve their ends. On the Republican side, it's mostly the same, save one.

Mike Huckabee possesses the magic that some have been looking for. He even has the sing-song preacher speak. He understands the plight of the common man. He knows the frustration of hospital bills that a fat belly brings. He knows how the middle class has been ignored. Mike Huckabee is a man of the cloth, not afraid to say God and hates abortion and gay marriage.

"I'm a one-issue voter, plain and simple, right is right," said the mom at the roller rink. "Abortion is wrong and Mike Huckabee is the only one who'll say it. He's got my vote."

But don't you consider the redistribution of wealth on a grand scale or slamming the middle class with taxes to be immoral? He raised taxes significantly in Arkansas. And aren't you concerned that America needs a man of bigger vision considering the precarious nature of world events (and Huckabee can't seem to keep his facts straight)?

"If that's even true about the tax thing. That's what people say. Well, I don't mind paying higher taxes if the man is a man of God."

Some have said that Huckabee is the noose the conservative movement has wrought and that Republicans will be hung with it, finally, this presidential season. This sentiment is usually accompanied with gleeful gales of evil laughter. And up until now, I've dismissed the inane Huckabee worship and his chances for President, but I'm reconsidering.

Far too many seemingly reasonable people I know like Mike Huckabee. He's funny. He believes. He's an overcomer. He's not beholden to the power brokers. The fact that many others, including other Republicans despise him, actually seems to enhance his status. He is the savior of the common man.

And while there is a nice long delusional streak among the Democrats, the right side of spectrum seems to have one, too, and the deluded love Mike. A number of conservatives struggle month-to-month and worry about paying the bills. They want big government. They want guaranteed jobs. They don't like NAFTA. They seek protectionism. They like their guns and they like Social Security. They wouldn't mind if someone paid their hospital bills either.

Mike Huckabee is the savior. And I think he has a chance.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Who Are We Fighting Again?

The worst sort of haters:

Last month al-Qa’eda bombed a UN building in Algiers because, like de Mello, it was symbolic of the decent world which the Islamists want to destroy. Eleven UN officials were killed at once. And so it goes on.

The murder of Bhutto, the murder of UN officials, the countless murders of innocent Iraqis, the murder of Lebanese who fight for their democracy, the murder of commuters in Madrid and London are all part of the same war against people and life. They are all part of the same deadly global ideology of hatred and despair. These assaults will not end if we retreat — from Afghanistan, from Iraq or anywhere else. Weakness will cause the terrorists to redouble their efforts.
We fight for life and happiness against death and despair.

President Huckabee or President Obama UPDATED

How do them apples strike you? Do you feel like you just ate a worm?

I'm coming to believe that I'm more moderate in my political beliefs than I ever imagined. The primary voters in Iowa, if they are representative of the mood of the country chose extremes--at least superficial extremes. In Huckabee, the voters get a folksy, religious populist in the Jimmy Carter strain. In Obama, the voters get a "change agent" outsider willing to take on D.C.

Neither man is what the voters believe them to be. In fact, they're more alike than different when it comes to their view of the role of government. Both believe that government solutions is the answer to all problems. Both use the victim rhetoric to appeal to the oppressed. Who in America is oppressed these days? For all the wealth and prosperity and personal happiness, it doesn't seem to be enough. Everyone carries the victim mantle now, and the candidate who best taps into the resentment gets the votes. Actually, the Dems feel victimized just living in a country that elected George W. Bush, twice. And the conservative Republicans are fuming about immigration and the corrupting influence of Washington. It seems like every Republican sells out. Still, it seems to be pure fantasy that either candidate will change much.

And then, these guys will have to be elected by the general population. Both are extreme. I'm a rather conservative Christian and Huckabee turns my stomach. And while I like Obama for his personality and his attitude, he's too inexperienced. Period. Not to mention that he's also exceedingly liberal in the Chicago strain of liberal. Um, no. The presidency is not where you gain your first executive experience, or it shouldn't be the first place that happens.

Having these guys in the general election will cause all sorts of electoral distress. I would predict record low turnout. Many people will pick neither candidate. This is all conjecture, though. It's early.

Huckabee won't be the Republican candidate. As much love as he got in Iowa, he won't feel the same thing other places. Romney is sliding. Without his immense personal wealth his goose would already be cooked. I cannot believe that I'm writing this, but John McCain is coming back and may well surprise everyone. Fred Thompson might come back, too. We'll see.

Will Obama be the nominee? It's a very good maybe. It's definitely between Obama and Clinton. The inevitability of Hillary has worn off and Obama's win may embolden voters who personally liked Obama better but were afraid to vote for him. But Hillary is a disciplined machine. That counts for a lot. George W. Bush's discipline and support structure made the difference down the stretch.

More thoughts:

The Anchoress doesn't think Iowa means squat. And she so distrusts Huckabee (as do I) that she's leery of his using Chesterton to lure Catholics. Ugh. Well, I think Iowa means more than squat. I think it's shifted the Democrat side significantly. The Republicans? I still view Huckabee as a Dean who has yet to really scream.

Betsy Newmark talks about how Iowans chose "novices" when the world events seem to demand experience. She, too, hopes Huckabee fades fast. It has occurred to me, that bloggers might be considered part of the elite chattering class by the average voter. Do bloggers skew libertarian or just more liberal?

Captain Ed says that Hillary is a spoil sport. Has she ever struck you as gracious? That would not be one of the first qualities I'd pick.

I'll add more updates later. It's just a start.


In the Iowans are idiots department: Jonah Goldberg says this (read the whole thing):

More important, if Iowans are so deadly serious about the issues, why is ethanol the third rail of Iowa politics? It’s hard to reconcile the idea that Iowans are exemplary custodians of civil virtue with the fact that they are rabid defenders of welfare checks for government moonshine.
John Hawkins gives clear-headed analysis, but I'm more interested in fantasizing about Fred Thompson pulling this out.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Fox calls for Huckabee and Obama. Well, on to New Hampshire.

Huckabee will never be elected. Never. Just want to say it again.

White people voted for Obama. This is important to note. America has changed. It's a new day.

On Secrets and Death and Life

Hi all, thought I'd share some interesting articles/blog posts I've read recently:

The Belmont Club has an excellent post about "open secrets"--the truth everyone knows but won't say. The "unspeakables" that afflict nearly every culture from family to corporation to country make for monumental problems eventually. That's how a tiger can jump a fence that has been known for years and years to be too low and maul and kill a boy amongst other examples.

Not just autistic children have trouble with executive functioning or deciding priorities and what to do next. Boys in general have this problem, children on the autistic spectrum have it in spades. Hans Asperger called the syndrome "extreme maleness". There's a solution. For guys like Einstein, marrying a cousin who took care of everything was the solution. In this modern world, where a man better be able to do his own filing and organization, here's the solution.

Want to know where I am politically? I'm right with my soul sister The Anchoress, that's where. She says this:

So, I’m going to focus on Fred and Rudy. Unless something interesting develops elsewhere, I believe I am currently intrigued most by “Freeman Fred,” who works to please no one and seems almost inconoclastic in his disdain for the excesses of the modern political process, and by “Rudy the Ready” who, as a New Yorker, I know, value and trust.

My thoughts exactly. For what it's worth, dear Anchoress, John Hawkins believes we're going to be disappointed. I still have a slim hope, though. And here's what's coming down the pipe from the Romney campaign. If true, he's done.

And then we turn to honor killings--in the United States. One, here in Texas. I'm speechless, but you should know this is happening. Alas.

My liberal friends, so trusting of the government are they, that they'd like socialized medicine. Would they like this? I think not. And phone companies suck, too.

It's important to note the beautiful beginnings in life and a blog friend of mine is in the middle of a beautiful beginning. I bet he isn't getting much sleep! To bring in 2008, his wife brought in a baby. Congratulations, Brendan! Welcome to more joy than you thought possible! (He has some good advice for new parents, btw. Hint! Hint! Bro, any day now!)

Brendan brings up an important point. Is there love at first sight? Yes. Ask any parent. 

Most Americans Love Their Life, Hate Society

It's an interesting phenomenon when people like their life. but dislike the direction the country is going. Most people are happy. Most people are satisfied. Yet, they worry about the world out there. Part of me thinks that this perspective is due to the incredible wealth and comfort everyone has. It's so good and it's been so good for so long, that the greatest fear people deal with today is that it could all be taken away. And the boogyman is out there just waiting to do it.

Perhaps that's why George Bush is so vilified. Only Stephen King could come up with a more loathsome monster than the press has succeeded in doing. The images portrayed are so cartoonish and extreme. President Bush sits around with his evil minions scheming about how to screw up the country and the world.

And now there's a new President to pick. Of course, all the Republicans are evil in one form or another. The Democrats cartoonish paragons of virtue. Either way, the President is giving immense power to changes things for good or ill. And the American President is powerful. 

But does the President have the power to destroy America? Is the power out there or is the power still in the hands of the people?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Teacher Burnout: It's The Parent's Fault

Demanding parents burn out teachers according to a small German study. Does this hold for American teachers? Maybe. The demands on teachers have increased with the standardized testing. In wealthier school districts, competitive parents may blame a teacher for a child's lackluster performance. But in poorer districts, teachers lament the lack of parental involvement. If parents were involved, they'd feel less exhausted. So, I'm not sure this study has enough breadth or depth to be of value in America.

One reason for homeschooling my children was that the school system burnt me out. I don't recall my mom having to do projects for me anywhere through school unless it was for an extracurricular activity. It seemed that my kids brought home a project at least every other week that was beyond their capability. That meant that mom was doing homework. In addition, both kids had to read daily (no biggie, they did anyway) and I had to sign their book saying how much they read. A girlfriend taught her kids to forge her initials. Why hadn't I thought of that?

There does seem to be some inherent tension between schools and parents. Working parents strapped for time blame the teacher for their kids' achievement. Teachers blame parents for undisciplined kids. They're both right, probably. One thing about homeschooling, it's my own dang fault if my children turn out to be dull-witted cretins. Of course, I don't think any teacher would hold themselves as responsible as I feel, if it just turns out to be a challenging year developmentally.

It seems a good solution for both parents and teachers would be school choice and vouchers. The teachers could be confident that their students are there because the parents wanted their children there. The competitive urge would kick in. Teachers would be offended when parents tried to get their kids into another school and work harder. Parents would research and become more involved. It would be a win-win. Why would the teacher's union reject vouchers? It would help them, too.