Friday, February 29, 2008

Obama's Unbearable Blackness of Being

Last week, I wrote that this presidential campaign might be more civilized because the press may continue their love-fest with McCain lest they give the conservatives ammo and well, they'll be nice to Obama because he is their guy. It might just be more civilized because of white guilt.

How will this play out in the election? Howard Kurtz wonders at the "pulled punches" because Obama is black:

"As conservative columnist Peggy Noonan wrote this month, 'Mr. Obama will not be easy for Republicans to attack. . . . There are many reasons, but a primary one is that the fact of his race will freeze them.' "

It certainly won't freeze them on the issues. But on personal matters and insinuations, that's probably right.

Politico's Ben Smith says Obama may be milking the contrition of his rivals:

"Most of them have apologized for saying something insensitive about Obama's race, his name, or his heritage. And the dynamic of outrage and offense this campaign has proved race to be a much touchier subject than gender. At times, Obama's campaign has sought to downplay burgeoning outrage. At others, he's stoked it for political advantage.

The problem with the pussy-footing is that it is, in itself, racist. When a black man or woman can be criticized or challenged like a person of any other color, then we'll know that equality has been achieved.

I don't think we'll see "equality" in this election by either the press or the candidates.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Seven Parenting Principles

Continuing this week's unintentional theme, I'm going to delve where most people fear to tread because they're a lot wiser than I am. Unfortunately, or fortunately for your sport and entertainment, I've been hit with a stupid stick and have decided to share my philosophies on everything from getting a woman to what it means to be a friend. Why not go one further and piss everyone off and talk about how to raise decent kids?

This is an especially dicey topic since my kids are not even teenagers yet. I haven't run the parenting gauntlet, but that doesn't mean I don't have an opinion. Oh no! I'm a blogger and bloggers have opinions. It's what we do. So here goes my leap into words that will be eaten. These words will come back to haunt me. Hell, they're haunting me now.

The question before us, is how to raise a decent kid. And by decent, I mean a kid who doesn't end up in jail, or on drugs, or is a smorgesboard of STDS or what have you. Before this rather low bar is hurdled in the late teen years and adulthood, the kid is parented, or not, a lot. I happen to believe that what happens in the formative years is, well, formative. Some people don't. I think those people are stupid. It's like saying that you plant a sapling, don't water it, don't feed it, don't stake it, and then wonder why it either dies or if it somehow manages to live, ends up bent in the trunk. Parenting matters.

So here's some thoughts on parenting:

1. Mean what you say and say what you mean. A child needs to believe his parents. A parent who consistently threatens is viewed for what he or she is: an impotent buffoon. The child will push and push, the parents will get frustrated, the child will feel emboldened and in charge, and ultimately, the child will feel insecure. Disrespect for parents translates into disrespect for all authority which translates into pissing off the boss and getting fired. Really, it's not that big of a leap.

2. Make few rules. So many parents have weird and arbitrary whims, really. A child can be defiant and mouthy, but must not, under any circumstances eat a piece of candy at grandma's house. Or, the child must say please and thank you like a robot but he is allowed to have a rotten attitude while doing it. Make your rules make sense. Explain them. Explain why they're important. And explain what will happen should the be broken. This shouldn't have to be a long conversation.

3. Have some standards. Good grief! It isn't cute when your miscreant speaks truth to power at age six. He's six. Yes, children can have their own wisdom. Yes, they can be very interesting. Mostly, they're interesting to you, the parent. Other people think your little Johnny is annoying. They're just too polite to say anything. What standards are a minimum? Respectful communication and behavior is a minimum. A child should not allowed to be surly and miserable. A child's demeanor means a lot. A happy, open attitude can be trained.

4. Reinforce good behavior. It's easy to spot the under performance. It takes more work to find the good work and praise it. When your child does something right, note it. And how you note it is important. Saying, "You're the best kid ever" is vague and actually puts pressure on the kid. Say instead, "I noticed how hard you're working to share with your younger brother" or "Your effort at math paid off! Keep it up!" This praises effort and not end results. The kid will be more inclined to keep trying to be better.

5. Model good behavior. Are your kids screamers? Do they hit? Do they have mean mouths? They learned it somewhere. Oh yes, kids are little parrots or monkeys or whatever screeching animal you prefer. They are paying attention to what you say to dad/mom. Model mature conflict resolution. Model kindness. Model taking turns. Model graceful losing. All those things where you want to stomp your feet and throw a fit like a toddler? Don't do it--unless you want the same thing modeled back at ya.

6. Judiciously use corporal punishment. Back in the day, the whipping was used for everything. Most of our parents would be in jail for child abuse and rightfully so. Excessive seemed to be the modus operandi. I know lots of parents in my generation have gone to the other extreme. They won't touch their child's tushie no matter how deserving it is of some instant messaging. I told a friend of mine that the quickest way to get a message to a boy's brain is through his butt. She didn't like that much. There are rules, though, about all this. And here are mine:

  1. Never spank in anger.
  2. Always use a hand. (You need a feedback loop.)
  3. Never, ever, ever hit, slap, or meanly touch a child's face or head. EVER!
  4. Only spank the butt or thigh.
  5. Children under two should not be spanked.
  6. Rarely, rarely spank.
Spanking is a last resort. Spanking is to send the kind of message that absolutely must be driven into the child's mind or else. For example, a child who has been told to not go into the street and then looks at you defiantly and runs into it deserves a spanking. The consequences for this disobedience can be death. A spanking is a small price to pay for the child to get the long-term, potentially life-saving message.

I want to note here that each of my children have been spanked less than five times in their entire lives. I have a 10 and an 8 year old. I believe the children are too old now to be spanked. Age 8 seems to be a cut-off, for me. The child can reason. He knows right and wrong and other consequences are needed to make a point. To me, the majority of spankings should be given between 2 1/2 and 5. And remember, this is a last resort.

Why spank at all? Well, it's effective. Used sparingly and with purpose, a spanking can give the child the hard boundary he needs to have. Some children need this structure more than others. Some children need few boundaries at all and will be somehow internally guided toward the right way of doing things.

Also, a note on special needs children: I have an autistic son. He has never responded well to spanking. He had a difficult time connecting the punishment with the behavior. The spanking seemed like a random act and would elicit a complete melt-down unrelated to the physical discomfort of a spank. So, he didn't get spanked except for the one time he was four or so and once or twice when he was older and understood. Parents should be very cautious about using spanking with special needs children.

7. Love them. Love means action. It means participating in their lives. It means reading to them. It means exploring their interests and building upon them. Love means being tough and saying "no", but it also means showing kindness and mercy and saying "yes" as often as possible. On the back drop of love, everything else falls into place. A child does not want to disappoint loving parents. A child wants to please mom and dad. A child will forgive all sorts of mistakes if he is loved.

This is not a definitive list. If you have more, add them to the comments. Parenting is absolutely a challenge. In fact, after marriage, I think it's the most challenging task I've undertaken. It is so long-term and the outcomes aren't guaranteed. But the results of good parenting are worth it. Many long-term miseries, much of the suffering adults endure goes back to the formative years. A good parent makes a big difference.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What Does It Mean To Be A Friend?

What is a friend? This definition seems good to me and describes a beloved few in my life:

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." - Anais Nin

I am what you could call selectively social. That is, in my private life, I have a few, intense, long-time friends rather than a vast collective of "networks". Some formative experiences caused me to be rather slow to trust and so, even people who consider me their friend often don't know a good part of who I am for a very long time, if ever.

Thankfully, I've been fortunate enough to accumulate friends over the years. There are the childhood friends who grew up with me back in the day. There is my High School friend. And there are the college friends. And then there are the Chiropractic college friends. And then there are my siblings who I am happy to now count as friends. In adulthood, as a doctor, making friends has been more challenging, but there are a couple doctors who are friends. It's a time thing, really. And I do have some friends now whose company and whose money I enjoy taking on a frequent basis.

Now, there are many people I consider "friends"--that broad category of people who are better-than-acquaintances level. And this is where things get dicey. For me, an acquaintance is like a business acquaintance, someone we've met but not someone we count as a friend or know that well. An acquaintance would not be, say, a friend we've lost contact with, however. That person would be a long-lost friend, who is just waiting to be reconnected. Unfortunately, I've allowed too many friendships like that wane. And with the advent of the internet, it has been possible to reconnect and rebuild.

In the blog world, I've made some acquaintances. Do these, mostly women, consider me a friend or an acquaintance? It's not a real "knowing" is it, communicating via email or reading someone's blog or even briefly chatting on the phone? In fact, I've been surprised a couple times when the voice didn't match the content. And, as it turns out, I've surprised others the same way. Such is the nature of the blog world.

A friend of mine suggested that I diminish the notion of friendship by calling so many people friends. I responded by saying that I felt truly fortunate and did indeed have many friends. For me, a friend fits this definition:
A true friend loves me despite my faults. She shows that love by keeping confidences and giving true advice and just listening. If I needed him or her, this person would come the instant I called. That instant, he or she would get on a plane, and come and be here with me, if it were at all possible. In absence of that, a friend would give me love, time, money, or whatever I needed to survive.
Well, that does shorten the list of friends now that I think about it, but I still think that I have more people who are true friends, than I probably deserve.

How about you? What is your definition of a friend?

College Tuition Subsidies

I've written about government subsidies and college loans before. Now, the topic is receiving lots of publicity because all the candidates think it's important. It's my belief that the chief beneficiaries of government loan subsidies are the colleges themselves. The government ups loan limits, magically, tuition increases. and voila! college students are screwed.

Now, Ilya Somin sees the benefits of rising tuition costs, and makes that case that compared to not having a college education, receiving a college education is a good deal. So, that's his reasoning for no subsidized tuition:

Even at the most expensive private universities, four years of tuition, room, and board is unlikely to cost more than $180,000 or so (the approximate cost of four years at Harvard at maximum tuition rates). And, as Becker notes, many students (especially the poor) don't pay the full sticker price because of widely available financial aid and merit scholarships. The income gains of getting a higher education far outstrip the tuition. The vast majority of students can therefore afford to pay for college by borrowing against their future incomes, and still have an enormous income gain left over. Thus, there is no reason for government to subsidize college tuition on the grounds that it is "unaffordable" - even for those students who are unfortunate enough to have to bear the full cost themselves, without parental assistance.
Well, I didn't have parental assistance for any of my college and worked my way through all of them. And ten years out, I'm still paying loans off even with the income gains. What I don't think Somin is factoring in, is that the loans are such a heavy, long-standing burden, they affect the next generation.

Of course, the kids whose parents are paying the bills are at a huge, long-term advantage. Those who pay off their own loans for years, to the point that they're not saving for their own children perpetuate a cycle of governmental indebtedness. It's just not a good pattern. And yeah, there is free will. And yeah, the professional life is much better than I expect I would have had without the education. And yeah, it's worth it.

Still, my reasons for disliking governmental subsidies are different. Without them, the institutions wouldn't be subsidized. They'd have less students entering. There would be more competition. They'd have to control costs. Students would benefit.

Either way, I want the government out of the college loan business.

H/T Instapundit

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How To Get A Woman

Today, Rachel Lucas discusses the woman who would dump on her guy "friend" while still dating the "jerk". She goes pretty tough on the girls, and rightfully so. I've known these types. In fact, one of my college friends dismayed me with her shameless using of the guy "friend". She knew damn well that there was no future with the friend but he had a car, or money, or an ear, or whatever she needed at the time. And, it was ALL about her. Men should flee this woman.

But let' not fool ourselves here. Men get something out of the "friend" equation. They get the company of a pretty girl. They get the moral superiority of not being like that guy. They get to be the shoulder to cry on without any of the expectations of a real relationship. In short, the arrangement suits them, too. They don't do any of the hard work to woo a woman, yet there she is next to him, anyway.

Guys need to man up. It really isn't that tough to get a woman. Yeah, we're complicated. Blah. Blah. That comes with the reproductive parts you love so much. If you want a woman, you invite complication and all the wonderfulness that comes with it. You do want to invite a woman, right? So, how to do it:

1. Dig women. Simple enough. But some guys seem strangely gender neutral. One of the hottest guys I ever met had a pot belly, low-brow humor and gold chains around his neck. He was the typical Long Island guy ala Chris Katan. But he dug women. All women. Every woman he met he could find something interesting about. I remember a compliment he gave me, like it was yesterday. And he meant it. Did he ever have a shortage of women? Uh no. Every girl wanted to be around this guy. And he always had girls. Sometimes two at a time.

2. Make eye contact. I know. I know. You're shy. Get over it, already. Join Toastmasters. Do something to overcome your fear. Because when you're a scaredy cat, you're making it all about you and not the woman. She will see your interest in your eyes. An interested guy is an interesting guy.

3. Be quietly confident. You don't have to be a complete jackass to be confident. It's how you carry yourself. If you hunch over and act like a kicked dog, you will give off kicked-dog vibes. Don't be surprised when you're kicked. Confidence breeds confidence. Stand up taller. See #2 again. Make sure you have a firm handshake. Smile. If it means you need to work out or better yourself in some way to overcome your insecurity, do it.

4. Approach her. What are you waiting for? If she's that great, she's worth an approach. A guy who can't overcome his nerves to go to a girl he thinks is awesome, doesn't deserve the girl and really, doesn't want her bad enough.

5. Tell her. If you're sick of the "just friends" moniker, tell her how you feel. Sure, you're risking losing her friendship, but you might risk losing more if you don't tell her; and she won't be your's anyway if you never say anything. So, it's a win, win, if you tell her. A woman may not be into you, but it will always mean something to be told that she is appreciated and loved. By the way, this step is terrifying. Some women can be cruel or unkind or just plain stupid in this situation. This does not say anything about you, other than next time choose better. A good woman will not intentionally hurt you even if the response isn't what you want.

6. Have fun. This isn't life and death. This is making friends that could be something more. Too often, the pressure is to make this "perfect". It doesn't have to be. It just has to be fun.

There are wonderful men and women out there--smart, funny, kind, beautiful, handsome, the whole package. No complaining. No whining. No kvetching to friends. You can do this. I have a friend who found her soul mate on I have another who met at a bar. There are friends who met at work or at school or at church.

Love is all around us. We just have to bring it to us and sometimes that means stepping out on faith.

Feng Shui At McDonalds

I actually think Feng Shui makes lots of sense and have incorporated some ideas into my own home and life. If McDonalds finds that using the five elements balances the profit column, I don't think anything else will matter to them.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Barack Obama's Record--UPDATED

Want to know more about Barack Obama, international man of mystery, and all-around swell speaker? Here's some links:

*Guess whose mento is a Communist? Obama, that's who!

* Why isn't Obama patriotic enough to hold his hand over his heart for the Star Spangled banner?

* What has Obama got against flag pins?

* Obama wants to give away $845 billion dollars of your money to ungrateful Third World countries.

* Who loves to hang around with terrorists? Obama, that's who!

* Do people even know why they're voting for Obama?

* Che Guevara and Obama.

* Texas state Senator Kirk Watson can't name a single thing Obama has ever achieved.

* Obama wants to waste 850 billion dollars of your money.

* Here are 8 things you need to know about Obama and Rezko.

John Hawkins has more here.


Obama, like many politicians, likes something for nothing--thus the career choice. In this case, Obama bought a house with nasty money. Big surprise! It's hard to decide who is worse between Obama and Clinton, but one thing is for sure: they both give McCain a chance he would never get otherwise. A friend from Michigan told me yesterday that a lot of his dad's union buddies are voting McCain. Maybe McCain will pull enough wafflers to make up for the conservatives pissed off at him and abstaining from voting.

Schizophrenia and Making People Smarter

The role of glutamate in mental illness, especially schizophrenia. More drugs, with the hope that there won't be side effects. When you're monkeying with the brain, I can't imagine not having side effects.

The most interesting part of the research, for me, was this throw away sentence:

Another glutamate drug, meanwhile, has been shown in preclinical studies to reverse mental retardation in adult rats, a finding that previously appeared impossible, Dr. Insel said.
Can you imagine the implications of reversing mental retardation? And, would a smart person be made smarter with a drug like this?

Short Car Trips More Environmentally Friendly Than Walking?

Say it isn't so! Actually, this article is kinda funny and illustrates the absurd lengths people go to to ensure righteousness. In the absence of God, people will create one anyway. And environmentalism gets more Pharisaical by the day. For example:

If you walk 1.5 miles, Mr. Goodall calculates, and replace those calories by drinking about a cup of milk, the greenhouse emissions connected with that milk (like methane from the dairy farm and carbon dioxide from the delivery truck) are just about equal to the emissions from a typical car making the same trip. And if there were two of you making the trip, then the car would definitely be the more planet-friendly way to go.
How can one keep up?

McCain Hanging From His Own Shiny Rope

One reason conservatives dislike McCain: McCain-Feingold. This heinous piece of legislation, ostensibly written to remove corruption from the political process, did nothing of the sort. It simply made it harder for average people to share what they think about the candidates which suited incumbents like McCain just fine. He didn't mind regulating speech--yours--while he could say whatever he wanted to.

Well, tied up in this legislation, are rules and more rules about money. It's rather complicated, but McCain now suffers from his own legislation. I would cry a little harder if it was another candidate so suffering, but since McCain did this dastardly deed, it seems fitting that he lives with the consequences.

Obligatory Oscars Post

Reaction: Meh.

Everyone looked beautiful. Mostly boring, as usual. The only interesting award forced me to wait until the end: the men. They all looked genuinely nervous and desirous. I guess even actors can't hide their true feelings.

I find it interesting how squirmy the actors get seeing themselves. Kate Blanchett shrunk in her chair when she saw herself yelling to the Spanish Ambassador. Johnny Depp, who I love, looked anxiously at his wife. Even George Clooney seemed somewhat embarrassed. He's looking good, but older. I wonder how well he's going to age.

Best dress.

I went over to the Sisters to see what they had to say about the Oscars, but nothin'. I thought they were fashion hounds. What the Danté's Inferno? The do have a good post about the working mom's lament: Sick kids. Well, I've been a SAHM (stay at home mom) and have sick kids, too. And when they're sick, and this year its been six weeks straight now, I wonder what in the world I would do if I was working more than I do. A doctor doesn't get sick days. We'll find out soon enough. I'll be getting back in the saddle practicing a couple days a week in a new practice. Sister mentions Sylvia Plath. I can't remember if she baked her head in the oven or purposefully drowned herself, I get my neurotic writers confused, but either way, with homeschooling I can totally relate. It is time to escape the four walls.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

McCain, Obama, The Times and A Civilized Election

When John McCain received the typical media treatment that conservatives receive, the conservatives responded with typical conservative outrage, John Hawkins among them. The New York Times may continue to lead the charge to take down the "conservative" candidate, but everyone knows that John McCain is no conservative. The media's bias shines through. It's not conservatives they hate. It's anyone who isn't a Democrat with socialist tendencies they hate. McCain is Republican, sure, and a "moderate". Which is to say, he enjoys big-government intervention just like Democrats. He's not from the Bible-thumping corner of the party. He's not conservative on immigration, regulation, just about anything. He's been a staunch defender of the war in Iraq. That's it. Yet the Times gives him the same disrespectful treatment.

I do believe The New York Times miscalculated. They revealed their paper as the instrument of the Democratic party. They revealed themselves to be in the business of making news not reporting news. And their timing was purposeful. The story could have come out during the primary process where it could have hurt McCain's chances against other Republicans. But no, the Times waited until the timing most benefited Democrats. Megan McArdle calls her mom The Swing Voter who had this opinion:

As longtime readers of the blog know, I'm related to the Swing Voter, aka my mother. Her vote is an infallible indicator of who will win the general election. We had dinner last night, and somewhat to my surprise, The Swing Voter is completely outraged by the New York Times story--she vows to no longer take the Times, nay, not even for the Sunday crossword. She is also now thinking seriously about voting for McCain just to spite the New York Times.
It seems that the press will have to tread carefully all the way around, with a McCain-Obama election. Hammering McCain (they won't be able to help themselves, they love the Leftists too much) will further diminish their standing. Harsh pieces on Obama will engender cries of racism.

So will an Obama-McCain election be more civilized? Maybe so.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

President Bush in Africa

The Anchoress covers President Bush's triumphant African trip. She says:

In places where freedom is taken for granted, our president and our troops are not received with joy. But in places where liberty is still longed for and prized, the story is quite different.
That does seem to be the case, doesn't it?

Green Energy Will Be Driven By Green Money

For those who want to change the world into a better place, do it with dollars. The world will become environmentally friendly when there's money in it. For example:

The wind turbines that recently went up on Louis Brooks’s ranch are twice as high as the Statue of Liberty, with blades that span as wide as the wingspan of a jumbo jet. More important from his point of view, he is paid $500 a month apiece to permit 78 of them on his land, with 76 more on the way.

“That’s just money you’re hearing,” he said as they hummed in a brisk breeze recently.

Texas, once the oil capital of North America, is rapidly turning into the capital of wind power. After breakneck growth the last three years, Texas has reached the point that more than 3 percent of its electricity, enough to supply power to one million homes, comes from wind turbines.

Texans are even turning tapped-out oil fields into wind farms, and no less an oilman than Boone Pickens is getting into alternative energy.

“I have the same feelings about wind,” Mr. Pickens said in an interview, “as I had about the best oil field I ever found.” He is planning to build the biggest wind farm in the world, a $10 billion behemoth that could power a small city by itself.

And money, more than insipid moralizing, will drive green energy. And that's the best way. The American Way.

Relationship Warnings

I'm not quite sure the point of this, but it's a nice encapsulation of what can go wrong.

Friday, February 22, 2008

On Death And Dying

My senior year of High School, a good friend's father died from a brain tumor after suffering with brain cancer for more than a year. It was absolutely excruciating to watch her suffer, and a lot to handle at 17 for myself. I read the classic by Kubler-Ross On Death and Dying. She talks about the stages of grief. I have seen these stages played out too many times now, both personally and professionally, and there are ways to help make passing easier for those left behind.

Life is awfully short. A blink. And no one wants to die, not even those who are desperate and suicidal. Death is a means of escape for some, but it comes at a permanent cost. Well, only permanent in this physical sense.

The father of my friend did some wonderful things for his family. He set them up financially. He fought as hard as he could for as long as he could. And when it became clear that he wouldn't last, he called each child in, talked to them individually, and told them how much he loved and cared for them. They did not have to doubt as they grew up. They knew love.

Today, a friend of ours died. He had been told a year and half ago that he had three months to live. He had a rare form of cancer. Medicine held no hope. He was a powerful man. He grew up sleeping on dirt floors and grew a formidable business. He had everything, physically, a person could dream of. He got to fulfill his secret hopes--something many people don't get to do in their life.

His fierce spirit and questioning nature served him well. He turned to medical alternatives, changed his diet and changed his attitude and spirit. He managed to stave off the inevitable over eighteen months. Only weeks ago, we were at a basketball game with him, having dinner together and remarking at his amazing vitality. He had gained weight. He looked better than he had in over a year. It was our last time together in his health. Over the last days, a tumor literally strangled the life out of him. And he died.

It happened quickly, which was a mercy. He wasn't in pain, which was another mercy. His family was with him and could be there for him. He was loved. And he could share love. He had so many plans and so much to do. He was young, relatively speaking. He's gone and all that remains is his work and the lives he's touched.

We get too caught up, I think, in the temporal and immediate. Life can be snatched away in an instant and to not be fully present in it is a waste.

Today, a loved one is having a birthday. Today, babies are born. Today, there is hope for those who have life in them to hope. If nothing else, mortality seems to be the best reason to live.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stupid Gender Stuff--The Neverending War

Dr. Helen has another letter from another beat-down man. Bottom line: Life is not fair. Women get the breaks. Men are diminished. Women don't value men. Dr. Helen concludes:

Finally, you do not have to prove your “worth” to anyone. You mentioned that you are a good husband, worker, and friend. That is indeed, good enough. You are not the catalyst for all of the evil stereotypes that some misinformed people wish to project onto the male gender. Disavow yourself of that, for shouldering that burden would make anyone tired. Live your life in a way that brings you satisfaction and let the naysayers wallow in their inflexible negativity.

Meanwhile, Cassy Fiano has a rejoinder to a stupid article explaining to men how to know if women are into them or not. Let me just add here, that if you're looking for pupils dilating or the head tilt for reinforcement that you're on the right track, you might be blogging too much.

Moral of the story? Men and women still bug the shit out of each other. They have a tough time figuring out relationships. And the current social climate complicates what has always been a crazy-making dance. Like I've blabbed before, I think that both genders face a situation where they must gender-neutralize to survive.

What is interesting about all this, is that the common differences between men and women, which used to be understood are now discounted. The differences still exist. Men still want to be respected. Women still want to be loved. Relationships are a mystery; indeed, the greatest mystery. And yet, relationships are approached like they are body signals or social science projects.

The advancement of women in the work world should not have to come at the expense at the loss of self for the man. That women or men frame it in this zero-sum way is defeating and self-defeating. If a man defined his worth by a paycheck, then, he's bound to be intimidated if his wife's paycheck is bigger. Likewise, if a woman believes a modern man is deficient because he can't breastfeed, she's bound to be disappointed.

Some things have changed and needed to change and they were good changes and everyone needs to get used to them, unless we all submit to Sharia law, in which case we'll all be someone's bitch. Until that time, women are on an equal footing with men, and that's great. A lot of resources were ignored when women had one place--in the home.

Some things haven't changed. For example, women conceive and carry and birth and can feed a baby. A man can't. A woman is wired differently. This lesson was difficult for me to embrace even though it was physically obvious. While I could hold my own and take care of things under normal circumstances, as a pregnant woman, my body was fragile. This was a bitter pill that I almost, indeed, the first pregnancy did, choke on.

In addition, women nurse babies. It's not just the milk. It's the closeness. It's the relationship. It's how the woman's body is made. It's how the baby survives best (see here and here).

Now, I know a woman doesn't have to do the mommy things these days. And I also get irritated with the Mom Nazis who try to find meaning and value in life exclusively through mother nature--namely their own pet peeves positioned as righteous wisdom. I can't help but thinking that the La Leche League and Eco Moms would have been the same ladies at the temperance meetings of yore.

But this proves my point, as much as society has changed, it's remained the same. Men and women still think about things, namely relationships, but other things as well, differently. Can we just accept this fact? Do women have to make snarky comments about men, deriding them, essentially, to promote themselves? Do men have to reduce women to porn parts or feeling less than because a woman has become more?

Women and men need one another. It would be nice for the weapons to be put away.

Muslim Wannabe Terrorist Nailed in Tampa

He was trying to "play the part":

After Baines was read his rights, he said his cousin had cut away the pages to make the hollow section in the book. Later, reports state, he said he had hollowed it out himself to hide money and marijuana from his roommates.

Baines told officers he was moving to Las Vegas and forgot the cutter was in the book.
Officers found books in the backpack titled "Muhammad in the Bible," "The Prophet's Prayer" and "The Noble Qur'an." He also had a copy of the Quran and the Bible.
I'm sure he had no intention of using the box cutter. None at all.

President Bush: "Cowboy In Space"

It sounds kinda cool even if it's biased pap.

Apocalypse Now? It's The Gays Fault

Around the web, commenters shared fears about the apocalypse starting with the Red Moon. And now, an MP in Israel believes that earthquakes around the country are being caused by immoral activity:

Shlomo Benizri, of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas Party, said the tremors had been caused by lawmaking that gave "legitimacy to sodomy".

Israel decriminalised homosexuality in 1988 and has since passed several laws recognising gay rights.

Two earthquakes shook the region last week and a further four struck in November and December.
It does seem that the Judeo-Christian world is diverging further. There are the ultra-conservatives who see signs everywhere and the increasingly secularized, marginally churched who hold their noses at such archaic notions. I guess we'll find out who is right soon enough.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On Socialists: Aren't They Awesome?

If you haven't heard, Castro's (future as president) is dead. Anyway, that doesn't mean that CNN can't extoll his virtues today. Ace has more.

Michelle Obama's recent pride in her country has caused quite the storm, but the always attentive Anchoress notes that Ms. Obama resembles another woman we all know a little too well. Speaking of Obama, is he using Mohammed Ali's strategy
Jon Henke called this Hope-a-Dope yesterday, after the strategy employed by Mohammed Ali in the ring to tire George Foreman and win the championship. Obama hopes it works as well for him as it did for Ali, and it just might.
Remember the Missouri prayer tower being built? Well, it seems that some fellow bloggers, Gateway Pundit and LGF are being abused by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at CAIR's (Council for American-Islamic Relations) behest. Oh, and here's the results from my poll on this new development.

I'm tying all these random thoughts together with this: Socialists suck. They think they're better than everyone unless everyone is smoking the same crack they smoke. Michelle Obama, Castro and CAIR are rowing in the same stupid, ideological boat. I cannot believe people are buying this crap. But evidently, lots of Americans are really stupid.

Beam Me Up Scotty

Remember that Star Trek episode where everyone is playing that game with a headset and they're lured into zombie-like status? Can you imagine a world where your thoughts can control the game you're playing? Well, imagine no more, the future is now:

The Epoc technology can be used to give authentic facial expressions to avatars of gamers in virtual worlds. For example, if the player smiles, winks, grimaces the headset can detect the expression and translate it to the avatar in game.

It can also read emotions of players and translate those to the virtual world. "The headset could be used to improve the realism of emotional responses of AI characters in games," said Ms Le.

"If you laughed or felt happy after killing a character in a game then your virtual buddy could admonish you for being callous," she explained.

The $299 headset has a gyroscope to detect movement and has wireless capabilities to communicate with a USB dongle plugged into a computer.

The Emotiv said the headset could detects more than 30 different expressions, emotions and actions.

The headset could be used to improve the realism of emotional responses of AI characters in games
Tan Le, Emotiv

They include excitement, meditation, tension and frustration; facial expressions such as smile, laugh, wink, shock (eyebrows raised), anger (eyebrows furrowed); and cognitive actions such as push, pull, lift, drop and rotate (on six different axis).

Don't Get Sick In The Hospital

Certain things are common knowledge if you've had the unfortunate experience of spending much time in the hospital: 1) bad things happen on the weekend and 2) bad things happen at night. If I had to do one thing over again at the hospital when my premature sons were there, it would have been to trade off and stay all night with my son. That's when the shit hit the fan, and when stupid mistakes were made. As it was, I stayed at the hospital until midnight every night. But the real drama happens from 1 to 5 a.m. 

Now this conventional wisdom is supported by research:
The current study examined cardiac arrests among 86,748 adult hospital patients at 507 hospitals during a seven-year period ending last February. The researchers compared survival rates by the time of day and day of the week that cardiac arrest occurred. Among patients who had cardiac arrest between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., only 15 percent survived long enough to be discharged. That compares to about 20 percent of day-shift cardiac arrest patients who were discharged. Other measures, including 24-hour survival and favorable neurological outcomes, also were worse if the patient had a heart attack at night. The study also confirmed earlier research showing that weekday cardiac arrest survival was better than if cardiac arrest occurred on weekends.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama Campaign in A Nutshell

So I think he definitely has convinced people that he stands for change and for hope, and I can't wait to see what he stands for.

--Susan Sarandan

Best quote ever about Obama. John Hawkins has the whole story.

Muslim Prayer Tower in St. Louis

A St. Louis, Missouri neighborhood will now receive prayer calls through a public speaker system. Gateway Pundit has more.

How do you feel about Muslim Prayer Towers in American neighborhods?
It's a free country.
It's noise pollution.
It's just another sign the U.S. is going down the craper. free polls

Sperm Damage Passed To Children

This research interests me because it might explain autism's grip on whole families through the generations. It seems that a man's sperm health affects generations:

A team from the University of Idaho in Moscow tested the effects of a hormone-disrupting fungicide chemical called vinclozolin on embryonic rats.

The chemical altered genes in the sperm, including a number associated with human prostate cancer.

Rats exposed to it show signs of damage and overgrowth of the prostate, infertility and kidney problems.

The defects were also present in animals four generations on.

So, men in toxic environments should be aware of the dangers and also realize their jobs and or behavior may affect their children.

Suicide in Mid-Life

Buried deep in the New York Time's article is the possible cause:

At the moment, the prime suspect is the skyrocketing use — and abuse — of prescription drugs. During the same five-year period included in the study, there was a staggering increase in the total number of drug overdoses, both intentional and accidental, like the one that recently killed the 28-year-old actor Heath Ledger. Illicit drugs also increase risky behaviors, C.D.C. officials point out, noting that users’ rates of suicide can be 15 to 25 times as great as the general population.
This seems plausible to me. There really isn't any understanding of how the meds affect people going on and off of them and mixing them. And then there is the fact that the Boomers may have the most difficult time with aging of any generation.

Black Is Better II: "Identity Politics Is Rational"

Sunday I wrote about Frank Rich's racist and cynical views. First, he is viewing the world through a color prism. Second, he believes all Americans are as racist as he is racist.

Evidently, Rich is in good company at The New York Times. Today it's another white male, Stanley Fish, opining about how identity politics can be a good thing. Well, at least these guys are coming out of the racist closet and airing their views instead of pretending at fairness. Fish says:

We should distinguish, I think, between two forms of identity politics. The first I have already named “tribal”; it is the politics based on who a candidate is rather than on what he or she believes or argues for. And that, I agree, is usually a bad idea. (I say “usually” because it is possible to argue that the election of a black or female president, no matter what his or positions happen to be, will be more than a symbolic correction of the errors that have marred the country’s history, and an important international statement as well.) The second form of identity politics is what I call “interest” identity politics. It is based on the assumption (itself resting on history and observation) that because of his or her race or ethnicity or gender a candidate might pursue an agenda that would advance the interests a voter is committed to. Not only is there nothing wrong with such a calculation – it is both rational and considered – I don’t see that there is an alternative to voting on the basis of interest.
A commenter made the point that on the Right Christians voted based on a candidate's specific religion and that too, was a form of identity politics, yet no one criticizes that. Well, I happen to believe that voting that way is also wrong and foolish. It is nice when one finds a candidate whose personal beliefs mirror one's own, but please, if his policies are repugnant, who gives a flip if he thumps his Bible on Sundays ala Mike Huckabee?

The Right screwed themselves over, as others have noted, because they held on to identity politics of just this sort. Religious prejudice harmed Romney's chances as much as anything. I know this because I had more than one shock-inducing conversation with religious conservatives around Houston. They were voting Huckabee because Huckabee was a good Christian man. To which I responded, "Who raises taxes."

My philosophy in politics is the same as in medicine: Are you the best? Do you want a surgeon who prays but can't cut his way out of a paper bag? Or do you want a surgeon who can cut, and worships Abraham Maslow? I'll take the latter, thank you. My preference would be a world-class surgeon who also prays, but you know what, sometimes we don't get what we want.

This political season has been all about not getting exactly what we want. And both the Right and Left are making moronic choices in candidates because they're choosing form over substance. Black skin is form. Ovaries is form. Bible beating Baptist is form. The substance is symbolic, but politicians will be making real decisions that affect real lives. Christopher Hitchens says:
People who think with their epidermis or their genitalia or their clan are the problem to begin with. One does not banish this specter by invoking it. If I would not vote against someone on the grounds of "race" or "gender" alone, then by the exact same token I would not cast a vote in his or her favor for the identical reason. Yet see how this obvious question makes fairly intelligent people say the most alarmingly stupid things.

Madeleine Albright has said that there is "a special place in hell for women who don't help each other." What are the implications of this statement? Would it be an argument in favor of the candidacy of Mrs. Clinton? Would this mean that Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama don't deserve the help of fellow females? If the Republicans nominated a woman would Ms. Albright instantly switch parties out of sheer sisterhood? Of course not. (And this wearisome tripe from someone who was once our secretary of state . . .)

On Day 1 in office, Obama or Clinton will cease to be symbols and become the leader of the free world. Mocha skin tone and female gonads mean little in the face of real challenges--except that in both of these cases, these candidates are weak and will project American weakness--and not because of their color or reproductive organs, either. They will project weakness because their policy positions are weak and because they believe America is weak and flawed. Suddenly, their policies matter.

Well, policies matter now. Character matters now. And these should be the determining factors in this election. But with guys like Rich and Fish extolling identity politics for its own sake, we can be sure they represent a considerable number of people who feel just the same.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Conquering Fat: A Global Task Force

It seems that the world's lot improves when the problem of the day isn't famine or pestilence but fat children. There are twice as many fat kids as malnourished kids and it needs to be dealt with. Should the world dedicate resources to lengthen a life shortened by fat and, ostensibly, happiness?

How to Survive A Recession

Maxed Out Mama has some good advice on surviving a recession and how to ferret out if your company is in trouble. She says (go read it all):

So it's terribly important to pay attention to your working environment to catch those subtle clues that your company may not be doing so well. If your company is publicly traded, you should read their quarterly and annual SEC filings, and you should periodically check Edgar to see if management and board are selling stock. But there are many other environmental clues, such as:
  • Management all moves to a separate area which is closed off from the working peons.
  • The background music at a company function seems to be "Nearer, My God, To Thee".
  • Human Resources starts including helpful articles about "Understanding COBRA" and a chapter by chapter discussion of "What Color Is Your Parachute" in their monthly newsletter.
I would also add: the company is in trouble when it stops all transfers, freezes new hires and starts discussions about a "re-org".

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Election 08: Black Is Best--UPDATE

Will the 2008 election boil down to one thing? According to Frank Rich, this election won't be about ideas or policy or platforms, it will be about brown, young and new versus white, old and used up. He says:

Even by the low standards of his party, Mr. McCain has underperformed at reaching millennials in the thriving culture where they live. His campaign’s effort to create a MySpace-like Web site flopped. His most-viewed appearances on YouTube are not viral videos extolling him or replaying his best speeches but are instead sendups of his most reckless foreign-policy improvisations — his threat to stay in Iraq for 100 years and his jokey warning (sung to the tune of the Beach Boys’ version of “Barbara Ann”) that he will bomb Iran. In the vast arena of the Internet he has been shrunk to Grumpy Old White Guy, the G.O.P. brand incarnate.
It's interesting to me that the Left embraces Obama for all the reasons they've lamented American society: they judge him worthy based on not the content of his character or experience but that he is young and black. And they judge the Right unworthy because of whiteness and age.

Cross-posted at Righ Wing News.


Here is what Frank Rich could have addressed in his column over the weekend. They are called policies.

And if the press wasn't so intent on kissing his rear, Obama would be investigated more closely about a few of these things. Plagarism being one thing, but really who cares about stealing stupid ideas?

Daytona 500

New cars and lots of fun! And to my pink neck sister, roll on!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Good Stuff

For those who think Freud was full of it, Dr. Pat Santy gives a case study in impotence and feared castration that permeates the Islamist's mind.

Global Warming keeps causing these huge snowdrifts for my friends in Michigan. They suffer so under this disturbing threat. But hey, in defiance of scientists, the arctic cap is growing bigger and thicker. Stupid arctic circle doesn't know it should be shrinking.

How irritated with our Senators are you? Seeing that doofus Henry Waxman wax elephant and badger Roger Clemens (who is lying, by the way) instead of doing something worthwhile, is just plain irritating. However, Betsy reminds us that when they are actually working, they are usually screwing up, so maybe it's not a bad thing to have silly hearings.

Still in search of a savior? Obama is there for you with his religion: Statism. Mark Steyn has more about the revolucion d'Obama:

A few days ago, a local news team went to shoot some film at Obama's Houston campaign headquarters. Behind the desks of the perky gals answering the phones were posters of Che Guevara and Cuban flags. Do Obama's volunteers even know who Che is? Apart from being a really cool guy on posters and T-shirts, like James Dean or Bart Simpson. I doubt it. They're pseudo-revolutionaries. Very few people in America want a real revolution: Life is great, this is a terrific country, with unparalleled economic opportunities.

Good news for the western world: The Danes stand up the Iranian mullahs.

For the doubters among us, proof that there is a God. And, along these lines, if you don't think you're going to heaven, maybe you'll spend your dough on this.

James Lileks hits on a way to be remembered:
You know, if you really wanted people to remember your name in business, you’d change it to Adolf. There would be an initial moment of awkwardness, but then you could say “I know, I know, but I’m named after the meat tenderizer. Mom loved that stuff” and it would be okay. And they’d never forget your name.
Compassionate Conservatives need to, wait their philosophy, needs to die.

The new Democratic nominee Al Gore? It could happen....... And Brendan Loy explains Clinton logic. It's circuitous.

Congressional Democrats are playing fast and loose with American security. Do they even know that we're at war?

Finding justice in Houston and pondering mercy.

John McCain is funded by George Soros? Big surprise.

Finally, here's a love story that's worth reading about. An inspiring story about discovering a soul mate.

Have a good weekend all! Enjoy the reading. There is much goodness on the web.

Apple Stuff

Here's a good round-up of what's going on in Apple land--family, pay attention!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Surging: One Year Anniversary

Celebrations all over Baghdad! Wait, have you heard it on the news? Go read all about it.

Another List I Didn't Make

A prominent blogger leaves me off the list of "the Top 10 Women on the Right I'd Love to Eat Breakfast With".

I know that I shouldn't keep getting offended......

Stupid And Proud of It

Americans are stupid and what's more, they enjoy their stupid, so say some researchers:

But now, Ms. Jacoby said, something different is happening: anti-intellectualism (the attitude that “too much learning can be a dangerous thing”) and anti-rationalism (“the idea that there is no such things as evidence or fact, just opinion”) have fused in a particularly insidious way.

Not only are citizens ignorant about essential scientific, civic and cultural knowledge, she said, but they also don’t think it matters.

She pointed to a 2006 National Geographic poll that found nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds don’t think it is necessary or important to know where countries in the news are located. So more than three years into the Iraq war, only 23 percent of those with some college could locate Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel on a map.

And these people vote. With their emotions.

You can blame the very institutions that supposedly champion education. From elementary school until college, the emphasis is self-centric. Children don't know world geography, it isn't even taught. Maybe a kid will get world history his senior year of high school. What is happening in those intervening years?

Well, the kid learns that subsets of Americans are victims. He learns about oppressed people. He learns to "just say no" to drugs. He learns to walk quietly in line. He learns no context. No world-view. What happened with one person or people defines the world view of the child, if he even remembers it.

It seems to me that the solution is to teach children logically. Start from the beginning. That's one thing I very much enjoy about home schooling--the logical progression. So, this year, the kids are learning world geography and we're doing world history, a survey, from the beginning of recorded time. When we go back and study different periods more in depth, they now have the context to place the event--including the last 200 plus years of American history. They will have seen slavery before. They will have seen war. They will have seen persecution. They will see the roots of today's religious conflict. They will know that the badness they see today is part of the human condition.

It is distressing to see the man-on-the-street interviews where people don't know the name of the Vice President. America thrives on ideas and innovation. It's not encouraging to see the direction that post-modernism has taken the educational system.

Guns Save Lives II

It's the same old story being replayed: Disaffected youth takes revenge on helpless strangers.. The only guy armed is the bad-guy in "gun-free zones". I haven't posted about this current incident, not because I'm desensitized to the trauma these events cause, but because I'm sick of them.

Let people defend themselves.

People need to stop living this pie-in-the-sky notion that the guns are the problem. Last week a psychologist got hacked to death with a machete. Shall we ban knives? Broken bottles? Shards of glass? Box cutters? Nail files? Or, if you saw Natural Born Killers, a lipstick case.

The solution is to meet brute force with brute force. Anything less means the deaths of innocents. This has to stop.

More thoughts here and here.

Pet Dog Cloning

Do you love your dog so much that you never want to live without him/her? Well, now you can order a clone from this Korean company:

A woman from the United States wants her dead pitbull terrier - called Booger - re-created.

RNL Bio is charging the woman, from California, $150,000 (£76,000) to clone the pitbull using tissue extracted from its ear before it died.

It doesn't sound so bad when talking about a dog. How would you feel about cloning a child who died?

Sig Heil Hillary

I just don't think she's going to get elected. I just don't.

P.S. This is a turning point for me. I thought it would be Hillary on the top o' the ticket and Obama as Veep. Not so sure about that now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Surrender Afghanistan

That whole surrender Iraq thing hasn't gone so well, so what shall the liberals turn to? Why Afghanistan, of course! John Hawkins says:

See? It's an unwinnable quagmire and besides, why would Europe even want to ally with the US to occupy Afghanistan in an "immoral and wrong" war for oil? Why, the US better wake up to the fact that we need the military help of Europe more than they need our military help, even though we have the best military that has ever existed and all of Europe combined with the exception of Britain probably couldn't fend off a few hundred angry Girl Scouts. Yep, either we have to draft hundreds of thousands of Americans or declare defeat and call the whole thing off.

Today, some liberal doofus on the Smirking Chimp website is making these arguments, but in a couple of years, it'll be people like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, John Murtha, or Russ Feingold saying many of these same things if the Democrats get in the White House. Blaming America first, undercutting our national security, and making things easier on our enemies is just what they do...

It is irritating, the liberal's attachment to defeat. Is there a leader among them who desires victory and has the spine to say so? Not that I can see.

Thoughts On Marriage

I have nothing insightful to say and this post goes along with my moratorium, since the blog's inception, on the topic generally.

Kim Du Toit, a manly man I've enjoyed linking to over the years (he of gun-loving fame) offers a man's perspective on marriage.

Rachel Lucas offers a woman's perspective on women staying single and loving it.

Marriage is a mystery. All the books, all the advice, all the wisdom of the sages matters little ultimately. All marriages, good and bad, are mysterious entities--truly a new unit unto itself.

As for staying single, there are numerous benefits, if my sister's life is any indication. But if you value companionship, safe sex and comfort, well, sometimes the single life can fall short. But then, so can married life.

H/T Instapundit

Palestinian Tolerance

On full display.

Naked Confessions

The Anchoress wrote a provocative piece explaining mankind's nakedness before God. It is a must-read piece. I would like to explore the yin to her yang. Where she urges us to open up and reveal ourselves fully and completely to God, it is interesting to consider how hiding hurts us.

Few people exist on this planet, who've lived any length of time, who don't know regret and shame. We've all done things that horrify us in retrospect. We violate our own code so completely that we shrivel up some, contract within ourselves and hide. We die a little, or sometimes a lot.

Underlying this dying is the notion that some sins are unforgivable. We believe we are unredeemable. For some things, there is no forgiveness. This belief separates us. We might not overtly lie, but we might not tell the whole truth either. This compounds the isolation.

This is why confession is so powerful. The act of expelling the darkness makes room for the light. James 5:16 says, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." (NASV) The confession heals us body and soul.

Which leads to another idea: Every man desires to be unconditionally loved, to be loved for who and what he is, faults and all. By withholding and hiding, men deprive themselves of the connection with their fellow man that they so seek. Revealing ourselves, as the Anchoress points out, makes us vulnerable, humbled. And yet, the only way to have full communion is to cast off all self-imposed chains, bring the self low and ironically, be free at last.

Being soul-naked is the only way to fully avail oneself of love. Physical nakedness is merely a metaphor--and how many people are happy with their naked selves? Note that James says confess that we may be healed. Holding on to shame causes dis-ease. We are eaten from within.

Many illnesses can be traced to spiritual roots: migraine headaches where a person struggles to not think, chronic sinusitis where a person holds onto unshed tears, ulcers where a person's insecurity eats away at the self, low back pain where a person feels unsupported, pneumonia where a person chokes on grief, gallstones where a person clings to resentment, and on and on.

Heart-felt confession, loving-kindness and prayer would put a lot of doctors out of business. Unspoken shame does more to destroy health than a diet of Big Macs. Too many people put a band-aid on their souls--eat better, exercise--and ignore the corrosive affect their spiritual and emotional suffering has.

Getting naked goes a long way to heal. The path to healing includes the heart and mind. In fact, it begins there.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Could I Be Over-Technologied?

I don't think so, but you judge for yourself.....

I'm typing on my beloved MacBook, chatting with AIM, have a window open researching stuff, reading blogs, texting a friend on m iPhone, watching American Idol, and listening to musack on my iPhone.

Whaddya think? Too much?


Some Thoughts on Australian Forgiveness

My friend in Australia rejoices at Prime Minister Paul Rudd's decision to apologize to the indigenous Australian population for forced separation. Other Australians like Tim Blair says this in an aptly named post Happy Sorry Day!:

Sadly, the effect of the apology on those it’s aimed at is a secondary concern. This is more about smug white folks feeling nice about themselves. That’s why, despite it being an apology for allegedly terrible events, everybody is smiling.
Manny at Auspundits sees this as the beginning of indoctrination which is the government's ultimate goal:
Today, across Australia, state Labor governments and teacher's unions encouraged public schools to feature Prime Minister Rudd's apology to the "stolen generation" and to "educate" its pupils of the historical importance of this largely symbolic gesture. The kind of impetus and vigor with which this was pursued has not been seen in Australian life for well over a decade. Not even the "Public Schools: A National Priority" campaign was so shamelessly promoted.
My concern and the one I voiced to my friend a couple weeks ago, is that the apology is essentially toothless. It cannot right the wrongs. The children are damaged. (Google search it here.)

I'm highly suspicious of collective guilt generations on. Claire Berlinski wrote of the German psychology a few generations after the horrors of Hitler's regime. It's not good. Germany has its own peculiar need for pride and strength and discipline that has been lost in nihilistic angst but boils beneath the surface. It seems to me a uniquely German perspective. The guilt and fear feed resentment. At a certain point this reactionary emotion needs to be left behind.

In the Anglicized West--Britain, America and Australia--an uncomfortable pall rests on them for various reasons. Britain struggles with a pernicious multiculturalism and integrating Muslim populations. America struggles with another form of pernicious multiculturalism where Blacks harbor the legacy of slavery (and some still seek reparations), Latinos vie for special status and American Indians live apart, cut off from the American dream. In Australia, the Aborigines are, according to my friend, a shadow people operating out of the view of everyday Australians.

These strains of shame from the past suck the possibility from the present. They also separate peoples, isolating them from the potential of the new age. For the Aborigines, clinging to old custom will leave them behind the modern world. Is recognition that you're a victim a good thing?

My concern is that casting oneself as victim can be damaging long-term. If it induces helplessness and hopelessness, what's the point? And for those apologizing: Did you do the harm? Then, what good is the apology?

Religion in Custody

When the mother was presumed the best place for children, divorce was simpler. It might not have been better. Children often lost the influence of their fathers which created daily tragedies. But it was simpler.

In today's multiculti world, who's to say there's a better way to raise a child? No one. And so, sensing polarized atmosphere, someone who is relatively religiously bland or a secular humanist can paint a spouse as a fanatic cultist to get custody or conversely, the religious parent can push whacked views and expect a judge to be flummoxed about, ironically, passing judgment.

A father can teach his prepubescent daughter about, say, polygamy and who's to condemn him?

Mr. Shepp petitioned for better-defined custody rights for his daughter, but Ms. Roberts objected because he had exposed the child to polygamist Mormon communities. The court upheld Mr. Shepp’s right to teach his daughter about polygamy, saying it could not find evidence that such teaching harmed her physical or mental health.
And why not? Would the judge condemn homosexuality? How about bestiality? How about incest? How about a sado-masochistic lifestyle between consenting adults? How about female circumcision? Especially if any of the above lifestyles wrapped into a religious belief, why would any rational, secular judge prohibit the teaching of it to children?

Conversely, anyone who diligently sticks to religious tenets these days is branded a fundamentalist, an extremist. A conservative Christian is painted with the same brush as a radical Islamist in Rosie O'Donnell's America. So a judge inclined to view all religion as suspect will favor the more secular parent.

In the case cited in the New York Time's article, a fundamentalist family had primary custody taken from them on the basis of their religion. The child in question prefers the strict religious dogma. Her father and maternal grandparents don't. Both sides are at war over the child. The child testified against her father at the last custody hearing.

Barbaric. That's what I call this game playing. Eventually, this girl will grow up. She may still cling to her religious dogma, but she will doubt it, too. Will she feel used as a pawn between two selfish parents, because that is surely what she is. And her religious parent's posturing and insistence on making the other parent into a villain is anything but Christian.

Expect more custody messes over religion. As American society turns into the tossed salad the Leftists love so much, and morals degrade, there are few agreed upon norms. And while individuals flex their muscle, they actually empower the state via family court--a place that is already pregnant with unchecked power.

Who are the winners in this game? Lawyers and the government.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Yes, such a thing exists. Dr. Sanity elucidates the difference between healthy and pernicious narcissism:

Like many laypersons, Wolcott assume that narcissism is always a bad thing.

It isn't.

In fact, as I have pointed out repeatedly, narcissism--when there is a optimal synthesis of both the grandiose elements and the idealistic elements-- is an absolutely essential ingredient for a healthy, functional personality. For healthy narcissism, the essential task of the individual is to combine the grandiose side of the personality-- which is responsible for developing individual ambition and the energy to pursue happiness, as well as a feeling that one has a fundamental right to that life and happiness; with the idealistic side--which provides the ability to to develop values and ideals (see here for a full discussion). An excess of either side leads to dysfunctional, self-serving and often toxic behavior.

By definition, all ambitions, values and ideals are necessarily narcissistically invested. How could it be otherwise? These are the factors that define us as individuals.
This definition lays the foundation for her argument that the Democrats, specifically in this example, Nancy Pelosi's, narcissism is malevolent. Here's the good Doc's take:
Nevertheless, if Sean Hannity and others want to go down with their conservative principles completely inviolate and not vote for McCain-- that is their choice. I can appreciate and even honor such a principled choice. By the same token, it is also Nancy Pelosi's choice to call Iraq a failure and insist despite all the evidence that the surge is not working.

What 'prinicple' is Pelosi adhering to with unwavering determination? Ask yourself how it benefits Sean Hannity to be correct about McCain not being a true conservative and unworthy of support; versus how it benefits Nancy Pelosi that her country admit defeat and failure at the hands of a terrorist group. In the former case, if Hannity is correct, the Republicans and even Hannity lose. In the latter scenario, America loses but Pelosi and the Democrats win big---really big.

Placing your bets on your country losing a war so that you can win an election is the gamble the entire left has wagered. Contrast Pelosi's stance with McCain's statement that he'd rather 'lose a campaign than lose a war'. Which of the two has a serious narcissistic defect going for them and sees their own needs as first and foremost?


And speaking of "marching in ideological lockstep"--could there be a finer example of goosestepping than the expectation that all blacks or women must be Democrats support Democrat policies--otherwise they are by definition 'traitors' to their gender or race? Isn't the whole 'identity politics' thing a mandate to conform to your group or race or tribe in order to maintain ideological purity?

In point of fact, both of these positions that are attributed to conservatives are actually psychological projections on the left's part, because they represent the only possible positions their rigid dialectical and propagandized brains can imagine. Due to the narcissistic defect that the entire movement suffers from, they are all more or less stuck on either the grandiose or the idealistic narcissistic pole without the ability to synthesize the two extremes of the dialectic. Thus they vascillate between the cold grandiosity inherent in believing they know what's best for all of us; and the utopian idealism that leads them to impose --by force if necessary--those beliefs on everyone else.
This as good a study as any into the mind of the pathological narcissist. And I said it before about the Dems. This election is about their own identity. When their candidate flops, it will be a personal crisis. Forget Bush Derangement Syndrome. This election there will be a new diagnosis: Democrats Unhinged Derangement Syndrome.

Expect D.U.D.S. aplenty after the Democratic candidate is chosen. Dr. Sanity has job security.

Dubai Will Have World's Tallest Bridge

Courtesy Gizmodo, this is so cool!

McCain Bloggette

With the whole Chelsea Clinton pimped out kerfluffle, other candidates children on the campaign trail have been obscured. It happened before, too. The Bush twins turn out to be nice, normal young ladies years after receiving negative press about doing things college girls do. No one cares about the good they do now.

Seems that John McCain's daughter helps out the campaign by blogging. Thanks to Don Surber, who calls her the "un-Chelsea". Everything about the Clintons bugs me including their now-adult daughter, but since she's not running for President and won't be married to either of these conniving would-be White House inhabitants, I pay her no mind.

Back to Meghan McCain... She's a visual blend of her folks. She looks normal. Calls her parents "cute". She also has some nice video up on the Florida primary. Anyway, Meghan makes me like her dad better...well, maybe her mom. I doubt she saw her dad much while growing up. So, her mom must have done a good job. She looks like a normal 23 year old.

Maybe you'll like McCain more after you see this....

H/T Glenn Reynolds

Our Pals the Russians

A U.S. general reports intercepting Russian bombers:

According to an account from The Associated Press, the flock of Bears first raised alarms over Japan, where officials say that Japanese national airspace was violated — a bomber overflew an uninhabited island south of Tokyo, they said.

American Navy vessels tracked the Bears as they went, and then let slip the jet-fueled hounds:

As the bombers got about 500 miles out from the U.S. ships, four F/A-18 fighters were launched from the Nimitz, the official said. The fighters intercepted the Russian bombers about 50 miles south of the Nimitz.

At least two U.S. F/A-18 Hornets trailed the bomber as it came in low over the Nimitz twice, while one or two of the other U.S. fighters followed the second bomber as it circled.

There was no further escalation, no messages were exchanged between the two sides and no formal protest will be filed to Moscow, The A.P. continued. The military escaped a whole lot of paperwork during the Cold War by keeping this game on the field, and away from the diplomats.

So friendly, the Russians. With some "friends" war never ends.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Right Amount of Inbreeding

New research from Iceland's deCode project reported in the Economist shows that the most children born come from people who are third and fourth cousins. Not too closely related, not too unrelated. So somewhere between birth defects and frigid feminism there's a balance:

The strong relationship between kinship and fertility was so unexpected that the researchers have not yet calculated exactly how much it contributes to the demographic transition. But even from the figures they present, it is clearly an important factor, and one that is likely to apply in other parts of the world where the records needed to prove it are not so good. Even in poor countries, birth rates are now falling fast. An important part of the explanation may simply be the additional choice of mates that development and urbanisation bring with them.
Hmmm..... Kissing cousins is okay, I guess. Just don't kiss too close.

Difference Between Romney and McCain

Ann said something interesting in her speech that cut to the heart of the issue, that is now a non-issue, between McCain and Romney (this is a paraphrase, see the whole thing here):

Romney is a conservative who had to act liberal to get elected in a liberal state. McCain is a liberal who had to act conservative to get elected in a conservative state.
I know some people find her a loathsome creature. Still, her humor gets at the heart of some things and on this score, I think she is right.

Speak My Language

How rare is a good friend? When we're young, we take for granted the blood bonds forged through shared hardship or careless joy. Some of us are lucky enough to have people who stay with us throughout our life phases and know us, really know us. For some, it's our siblings. My sister and brother lurched through childhood right along with me and even for as much as we annoy one another, no one gets it like they do.

It's a common language, really. It's the space between words and the unspoken emotion behind them, that binds and connects. And, as we age, we realize that this commonality is rare and special. Some people never, in their whole life, feel fully understood and loved anyway, for all the faults. Most of us, though, are fortunate. We have known that safety and solace, comfort and grace that love, unconditional, and language, perfectly understood, provides.

A friend such as this shared this video with me. I hope it inspires you, like it has me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dealing with Disappointment: McCain Nomination

I had this whole lame post written--you know how bad writing is an absolute struggle. I essentially wasted two hours on McCain-Huckabee analysis. Consensus: They both suck. Bottom line: McCain is the nominee. There might be two readers here for whom John McCain is their dream candidate. For the rest, the question before us is: How do we deal with the disappointment?

Disappointment is the junction where expectations and unfilled meet. No one likes to be disappointed. We all want our expectations to work out just the way we hoped. Inevitably, this doesn't happen. Sometimes it turns out all good--like the Garth Brook's song [Thank God for] Unanswered Prayers . And sometimes, the disappointment is raw and real and hangs on--we find out that what we missed out on is exactly as good as we hoped. The disappointment lingers and can corrode the good that is elsewhere in our lives.

I'm not suggesting, by the way, that there is one right way to deal with the McCain nomination. Those deciding to sit out or vote Democrat in the next election have a valid point of view as do those who believe that the only reasonable course is to rally behind the less-than-appealing candidate.

What I am suggesting is that the spirit we bring to our decisions matters. Presidents come and go, and even life's biggest disappointments like an unexpected death or loss of love, passes into memory. How we frame the story remains--the meaning we give the story remains. Viktor Frankl noted in Man's Search for Meaning that those who couldn't find meaning in their concentration camp suffering often quickly died. Helplessness and hopelessness lead to despair which caused an involution of the human spirit. People simply gave up.

That brings to mind the Buddhist notion of attachment--that the key to happiness is to have no attachments. What that means is that we don't hang our happiness on a certain outcome. We might like a certain result, but unhappiness ensues when we feel that result must happen. When we are detached on the other hand, we can rationally evaluate the information and make a clear decision. That brings to mind the mafia boss who said, "I don't get mad. It clouds the judgment."

This whole election will be filled with disappointments. As frustrated as the Republicans are at this point, I shudder thinking about the emotionally immature and paranoid Left trying to process an Obama or Hillary loss. Hillary has demonstrated over and over, what liberal disappointment looks like--not righteous action, that's for sure. More like narcissistic tears. Dems have attached their own self-worth to the success of a certain candidate. It is all about the individual. The individual is projecting his ego and need onto the candidate. A loss of the candidate means a loss of self.

Republicans would do well to observe and learn. Not that anyone is crying in their beer, mind you, but the rhetoric on all sides is sounding less and less rational and more and more emotional. Part of growing up is dealing with disappointment. Part of growing as a person is finding a place of contentment even when desires may go unmet. Happiness can happen anyway.

And you know what? It is possible to be surprised. We don't know all ends and outcomes. What seems like a potential four-year disaster now can be a transient bump on the road to transcendent joy--not that I expect that from McCain, mind you.

But you never know......