Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007 Commences

2006 flew by faster than the speed of thought. It seems impossible to imagine that another new year is here. I sound old. Eh, whatevuh! May God bless 2007 for you and yours!

This was a great year for me and my family. Everyone is healthy and happy. Meanwhile, the world is sick and unhappy, and I'll write more about it later. This last week I haven't been writing, I've been absorbing pop-culture via expanded digital cable. I'm still astonished.

What will 2007 bring? Who knows? The Anchoress has a round-up of predictions from across the web. Man, I've missed her wisdom. Look at this, for example:

Also, I think the Newsbusters folks are not understanding Dennis Miller’s excellent snark, here. He said:

Let’s see, maybe it’s time for a Democratic president. Stay with me. Because the next step in the inevitable escalation in this war with radical Islam is going to involve us being appreciably more brutal and ruthless than we have been to date. And I think the left’s cronyism with the mainstream media will provide cover for someone on that side of things to up the ante.

He makes a valid point: A Democrat president could get away with all the stuff President Bush has done, is doing and wants to do to fight Islamofascism, because the (89% Registered Democrat) press will work for that president, instead of against him…or her. Come on, now…do you really think the NY Times would have done the Plame dance, or leaked the NSA and SWIFTBANKS stories if a Democrat had been leading the charge? Quite the contrary…if a President Clinton, Gore or Kerry had taken on this fight, appreciably weakened AlQ, gotten Libya to give up their WMD, nailed Hussein and helped Iraq become sovereign, AND kept the economy running at full steam, the press would be urging the purchase of TNT for an additional head on Mt. Rushmore. They’d be toasting the “humanitarian president” who freed women from oppression and helped shape the middle east into a democracy, etc, etc, etc…hell…they’d be endorsing oil drilling in ANWR.

So maybe Miller is right…but now…how do we find a Democrat we can really, really trust to sincerely want to fight Islamofascism. You know, someone who MEANS it. And who the press hasn’t turned on, like Joe Lieberman…

This last week Saddam hung and President Ford died and James Brown passed into the next life (and Michael Jackson showed up!!!!) and the extent of the insight I got was given by Tom Brokaw and Anderson Cooper or is it Cooper Anderson? These events were given the same weight. No, check that. Finding information on Saddam's situation were short, hand-wringing segments on the cruelty of the death penalty. No joke.

No internet for a week. Argghhhh! Do I miss the MSM? No, I do not. They didn't even show Saddam hang. Why are we afraid to show this violence? Given the life this man lead, showing his dead, swinging body from the gallows would not be gratuitous. It would be demonstrating justice. And no, I'm not happy about it, and take no joy in it, and I do not celebrate. I'm just glad it's done. Jeff Goldstein encapsulates my view perfectly and links to Roger Simon who takes on some head-shakers as the "anti-death penalty purists". He names narcissism as the culprit.

And the War wages on, and Michael Yon write of the strangeness of it all.

Kofi Annan is gone, thank heavens for 2007. Instapundit points to this. By the way, Glenn seems to feel as blue to be back as I feel. He enjoyed the sunny Keys, I enjoyed the sunny Florida Gulf. No matter, it was sunny and involved driving, a lot, today. Like Glenn, we had good travel and no problems with traffic. Driving I-10, north of New Orleans...actually, driving through Louisiana in general, was strange this year. The traffic is so considerably lighter than ever in the past. Could the loss of citizenry in New Orleans really affect travel so dramatically? My hubby says, yes.

So, here I post, back in my north-of-Houston saddle, without predictions for 2007 and turning out to be boringly predictable in my resolutions, that almost always end up lacking the resolve they contain during that hopeful kiss-filled first moment of the new year. Thanks, Mama, for bringing me back to reality! I've missed you this last week. By the way, this in no way diminishes my dreams or goals, which I carefully craft each January 1st with my Dream Board.

Pardon me while I have an existential blogging moment. I've missed the Internet these last eight days. I find myself incapable of feeling informed with TV alone. Waiting for 45 minutes as the Weather Channel strolls through the nation's various and sundry mini-catastrophes is excruciating. Typing in a zip code and voila! Weather! Now, that's power.

During my vacation, I finally read the Blog Father's tome An Army of Davids. And for nerds like me, it's empowerment in a book jacket. The book is excellent. The chapter on living in space, well, was the least interesting part of a most interesting book.

My only prediction for 2007: more power in more people's hands and less leadership which will result in more chaos. Some will respond to the chaos in totalitarian ways and others will wait for someone to make a decision. Who, exactly, is the world waiting for to save them from the mess they face? Since it's en vogue to be consumed by Bush blood lust, and he seems to be one of the few willing to actually make a decision, who will fill this vacuum?

The world, I fear, will be an even more chaotic place in 2007.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Britain: God is Almost Dead--UPDATED


I expect this trend to come to America. Heck, I believe this trend is here. While the Left identifies Chrisitianists as Satan's foot soldiers and while the Evangelicals worry about evolution, quietly, imperceptibly America grows weary of religion.

UPDATE: Dan Collins asks this over at Protein Wisdom:

Intellectuals often believe that membership in a faith community proves narrow-mindedness and establishment leanings. They love to pride themselves on their independence from such purveyors of false consciousness. And yet, even as they speak of the transparency of others’ ideologies to themselves, they never consider their own, nor do they acknowledge their own arrogance. Christ, when asked why he spoke in parables, replied that if a child asked for bread, who would give him a stone? Where is Lacanianism for the masses?

What I believe in, in transsubstantiation, for example, is it absurd? Of course it is. But its promises are glorious, and its effects are palpable to me. Tell me, you who see this as a flight into ignorance and a refuge in hokum, what it is that what you believe has to offer me. Show me how you are transfigured by your knowledge. Make me believe in something worthy of my belief.

I am listening.

Go, read the whole thing and read the comments and be illuminated.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Where are You Going for Vacation? To Parenthood

Surveying my dining room strewn with suitcases, toys and other essentials, it's impossible to avoid marveling at the sheer volume of stuff. Besides never sleeping again, morphing from a care-free, unburdened creature of impulse into a trudging, lugging human Blackberry is probably the most shocking aspect of parenthood. I've been a parent ten years. I'm still shocked and awed.

It takes considerable internal fortitude to fight the urge to never go anywhere ever again once kids enter the equation. Home has bedrooms and cribs and multiple bathrooms. It has my bathroom. My bed. My space. Mine, mine, all mine.

At this age, I'm not interested in sharing. Oh excuse me, do you need to use the bathroom? I can wait. I can wait. No, you go ahead. Conversations like that don't happen at home. I want to go to the bathroom? I don't belly past someone in the hall and wait in line. I go (most times I make to the bathroom). I want a Coke, I take it. No asking. No couches. No pretending to be rested after sleeping on the 20 years young used-to-be-master-double-bed that resides in the guest or kids bedroom and smells vaguely of a forgotten diaper.

This from a woman who likes to travel and see new things. The joy gets sucked right out of the experience nine suitcases and three arguments (this won't fit!) later. But fight the urge, I do. Ever the optimist, my drive to expose my family to all that's great and wonderful pushes my concrete experiences into my subconscious.

"Trying the vacation thing again, 'eh, Melissa," a friend said today.

"Yes." He gives me a knowing smirk.

"Trying to erase the last one?"

"Yes, actually, I am. Although I don't think anything could erase the memory of that misery. I'm trying to do what that forsaken cruise was supposed to be: peace and recharging. Good luck to me." He laughed.

Our family is going to the beach, staying in a two-bedroom condo. The weather is predicted to be in the 50s and 60s with rain coming and going. We're bringing books and flash cards (my kids groan) and there will be football and more football. I'm hoping for a walk on the beach and maybe a sand castle or two, even if we're wearing sweats and jackets. It's still the beach and the ocean.

Hope. I hope Little Toot doesn't blow his stack tomorrow after deciding to giggle and jump in the crib until 9:30 p.m. tonight. My seven year old, wise-beyond-her-years, daughter said, "Are we flying to the beach?"

"Uh, no."

"I'm not so sure about this....."

"You worried about Little Toot?"

"Yeah, he's going to freak out in the truck for that long."

I hope not. I hope he's happy. I hope they're happy. I hope it doesn't rain the one inch predicted tomorrow for our drive. I hope. I hope. I hope.

You know Ben Franklin's definition of insanity? Sure you do. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. By this definition, my grip on reality has been shaky for, well, let's see, now. Yes, I've been insane since the births of my sons. Certifiable. In fact, I think insanity was what conceived them in the first place.

Family, any way you look at it rationally, doesn't make sense. By having children, a person decides to rip selfishness away. I've had selfishness wrestled out of my clawing fingers. Having children illustrated just how attached to my way I have been and continue to be. I've had to moderate some. With all due respect to Oprah, having dogs just doesn't provide the built in growth experience children give.

People conceive children in the primal urge and narcissistic desire to see what a melding of these genes would create. Plus, babies are cute--especially the babies we create. All the other kids are ugly, by comparison. And not nearly as charming. And other people's children are miscreants. And not all that bright. But our children will be gorgeous, smart, well-behaved angels.

And we have them. And they exceed our expectations. I remember howling when my girlfriend said her baby's poop "smelled like sugar cookies." Yeah, right. Research seems to bear out her insanity. Parents, it turns out, suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Once trapped by their kids, they find that they identify with them and show loyalty to their cause--forever. It's truly amazing to watch the transformation. It's even more amazing experiencing it. It's a trip.

Where am I going? Not crazy. I'm already there. I'm going to be with my family, to create memories, to rest (ha!), relax (gales of laughter) and hopefully, have fun. Crazy and family. It's the same thing.

Russians Blackmail Gas Customers

Wow. This is just simply shocking. NOT.

Russia is a power that is better off when bent over tending to a kick in the gut. As The Bear strengthens, as Europe navel-gazes and holds to the politically correct line about Iran, and while the Democrats and President Bush twiddles and fiddles, tyrant regimes old and new regroup and strengthen.

Does Europe not get that they are about to be squeezed like a ripe melon?

Digital Photography Tips

Some tips from Life Hack to take better digital pictures. I would add this:

  • Take lots of pictures. It's digital. You can delete whatever you want.
  • Get close. And then, get closer.
  • Remember the rule of thirds. Putting the object of the picture right in the middle of the frame can be boring. Try shaking it up and put the person in the first third of the frame. Likewise, play with the horizon to give a shot a different feel.
  • Most digital cameras have crummy flashes. Take it outside. An overcast day without direct sun will give you great pictures. Pictures at sunrise and sunset give a warmer glow to a picture. Middle of the day pics cast shadows.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Donald Sensing: Why I love Global Warming

Donald opines:

It’s one week before Christmas. I went shopping today wearing shorts and a pullover shirt. Temps were in the 68-70 range, maybe even a little more. It’s been like that since the middle of last week or so. I shot a trap meet Saturday in my shirtsleeves. The range runs along the Harpeth river in Nashville and there were actually pleasure boaters on the water, cutting water donuts with the boat’s top down.

I am presently watching Monday Night Football on my notebook computer with Slingbox whilst sitting on my patio in my shirtsleeves, enjoying a Don Tomas while I view and type.

“Act now to stop global warming!” Naaaah, I think not!

Well, I'll tell you why I might hate it: If global warming really happens, it might get too hot down here in Texas and I might have to move back to either 1) The Peoples Republic of Michigan or 2) The People's Republic of New York. Neither option sounds appealing.

Let's hope the whole toasty thing holds off for a generation. My children can feel free to move anywhere after my old bones are buried.

Al Qaeda's Love Letters to the Dems

Al Qaeda's message for GW: We have a time table for ya.

Al Qaeda's message for the Democrats:

But other than a mention on ABCNews' blog The Blotter, and a big headline on Drudge, you won't see much mention of this ever again. Ever, ever, ever.

Al Qaeda has sent a message to leaders of the Democratic party that credit for the defeat of congressional Republicans belongs to the terrorists.

In a portion of the tape from al Qaeda No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahri, made available only today, Zawahri says he has two messages for American Democrats.

"The first is that you aren't the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen -- the Muslim Ummah's vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq -- are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost," Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News.

Zawahri calls on the Democrats to negotiate with him and Osama bin Laden, not others in the Islamic world who Zawahri says cannot help.

John Kerry immediately booked a flight to Islamabad.

I LOVE IT! Democrats really speak the same love language as the Islamofascists. Negotiate, baby!

Martha Madness--The Impact of Corporate Law

I'm just now listening to Glenn & Helen's podcast about Corporate Law specifically about out-of-control prosecutors, the inability of the common business person to comply with all laws (I'll second that emotion), and broadness of the law. Essentially, any citizen is out of compliance with some law. Martha Stewart spent two years of her life dealing with the law and jail for a tiny infraction that many men (mostly men because they are at the high levels of business) never face for the same problem. And forget about actual criminals who kill, maim, steal, rape, and literally destroy lives and Martha Stewart is in the joint? This is a problem.

Right now, I have a friend who is spending 18 months (that was the minimum sentence, the judge had no discretion in the sentencing) in Federal Prison for violating paper work regulations. I'm not kidding. He made a procedural error. A rival company reported his company for something bigger that was groundless, but they got him on a procedural error. Guess what? That town now has a monopoly in his former business. All the witnesses were intimidated by the prosecutor to either change their statements to witness against their boss or be prosecuted themselves. And they all did.

As a business owner, the fear of non-compliance with some rule affects all parts of our practice. Just the lists of our insurance illustrate the potential pitfalls: liability, malpractice, health, life, umbrella (doctors are big targets for everything). We've tried to structure our business in a way to limit our exposure.

Even still, we have the IRS, HIPAA, ADA, and the list goes on and on, of government agencies we must comply to. We have the same obligations when it comes to our retirement programs as huge corporations. The fine for non-compliance is $300,000 if one set of paperwork is not completed and turned in on time. That's exactly the same for fine for a multi-billion dollar international corporation. Except, they have lawyers and accountants. We have one employee. And the fine is the same. That kind of fine would ruin us.

Here are the problems:

  1. There is no sense of proportion with fines, sentencing, etc. Making a mistake with paperwork might inconvenience the government, but no one is dead. No one is even hurt. Meanwhile, criminals molest children and end up on probation. This is insane.
  2. DAs and prosecutors have no limitations. None. The Grand Jury is supposed to clip the DA's wings. But look at the DA with Tom DeLay. He kept reconvening Grand Juries until he got what he wanted. That is NOT the purpose.
  3. The laws are too broad and poorly defined. No one can comply. It's insane. Ironically, the law-abiding citizens who are trying to do the right thing are the most at risk. The big corporations have a slew of lawyers and deep pockets--even they are often extorted by the government. The government should not be able to extract money from people for minor infractions just to fill their coffers.
Ultimately, the government stifles growth and creativity. It is simply too expensive and risky to work and do business. I swear, owning a business is as nerve-wracking as being a parent. There are so many potential, lethal pitfalls. I've given myself heart-burn.

I'm a Leftist and I'm Afraid--UPDATE

Dr. Helen explains the Left's fear:

However, my guess is that it is fear that makes the angry leftists link to me or troll to try and shut people here up. Why such a threat from a few thousand people a day on my blog? Because two or three thousand readers could go out and talk to two or three thousand friends about libertarian or right leaning ideas and gasp! they might listen. Extreme leftists have a lot invested in keeping the right's views out of the media, schools and universities. That means making people on the right afraid or embarrassed about stating politically incorrect views. But everytime we stick up for a student Republican or professor, etc. the lefties' fear and discomfort become a little greater, their monopoly on these institutions is broken a little further and the threat causes them to act out in anger or make aggressive blog remarks. But hey, I am doing my part here because as long as they write about me, or waste their time posting on my blog, there is less chance they will be out in the real world pushing their agenda. So keep on coming by, boys. And thanks for the traffic!
It might also explain why the rhetoric finally matches the beliefs. For a long time, the Left could moderate their message for the general public (who would ever have believed that Walter Cronkite was a flaming partisan?) and hold their socialist and communist views near and dear. These discussions would take place behind closed doors at those mind-numbing dinner parties Gwyneth Paltrow sniffed about.

The Rightosphere smokes them out from under their belief rocks or is it rocked-headed beliefs? Not content to control Mass Media and Academy, they want to suppress dissent. It used to be so easy. Thus, Nixon's "silent majority". Well, I believe the majority still exists, it's just not so silent. Well, not completely silent anyway.

Here's what I'm not so sure about. Does the Rightosphere make a big enough difference? The Media still so completely controls the message, that America got elections like the last cycle. If a voter only watched the news or heard snippets on the radio, he still lives in Walter Cronkite's world. He is brain-washed and doesn't even know it.

The efforts in opinion pieces and outright Media scams like the AP (at war with Michelle Malkin) and Reuters (at war with Charles at LGF), go unchecked to this day by the Major Media. The common person says they distrust the media, but their actions tell the story that they believe what they read and see. And what do they see?
  • Mickey Mouse on a heap in Lebanon
  • Green Helmut Guy carrying dead bodies
  • Screaming mothers
  • Men carrying three-day dead naked babies
  • Roadside bombs
  • Snipers picking off American soldiers
  • Mark Foley's face over and over and over, with one email blared
  • Evangelical Pastor screwing a dude and scoring meth
  • Poor Muslim Inmams being persecuted in the land of religious freedom for praying in an airport
  • Leaked intelligence undermining the government and war
  • Every "expert" disagreeing with the President
  • Grave commentary about the systemic destruction of civil liberties
This list could go on and on and on. In my readership, I have lots of family and friends who give me feedback. "Melissa I really like your blog, but why all the political stuff? It's boring!" And yet, the "political stuff" is what is determining this country's future. Too many people, like those vapid broads at The View, have the luxury of opining about topics about which they are absolutely ignorant while maligning their own country and kvetching about civil liberties. These ladies, and most of the Left, seem completely unable to see the irony of this position.

Politicians make decisions about the War, about defense, about America's position in the world. This in turn determines the stability of our economy, our lifestyle--our very lives. So the Rightosphere is apoplectic about what they collectively view as an existential threat in Islamofascism and the Leftists churn out their bile and rubbish for the masses. Schools, colleges, and the media possess potent tools to put forth propaganda. Do you notice how in all cases only one side gets heard? What student will risk a teacher's wrath? What reader questions the pictures they view? Who would ever imagine that the media would doctor photos to aid the enemy?

The Rightosphere is not reaching the masses. Not yet. The Leftists want to make sure the Rightosphere never gets the chance.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds links to Rich Miller of the Chicago Sun-Times who says:
This phenomenon is not going away, no matter how much it is dismissed or chastised. The Internet has been seized on as a democratizing tool by millions of perpetually democracy-hungry Americans. Bloggers should definitely be open to criticism by the mainstream media. That's America. But lumping everyone together with the crackpots is neither fair nor honest. And the fact that so many reporters and pundits can't seem to get the story right just proves the bloggers' point that too many of them don't know what they're talking about on everything else.
The MSMs nose is pinched. Not only are these upstarts doing our work, they are criticizing our work. How DARE they? But it is more than that, the Blogworld has far more diverse opinions, they are more transparent about their biases (the MSM possesses no bias, don't you know), and they are less beholden to the power brokers for love. They are freer and more single minded. All this combines for frustration. It's fun when influence grows, it's miserable when it shrinks.

Mike Nifong Drops Rape Continues Charade

This man just won't quit. Since he won't, he must be stopped. A judge, the North Carolina State Bar, someone must stop this mess. When it is all over, I hope he is sued by these families for severe emotional duress, defamation, loss of everything for over a year.

Nifong knew in April , APRIL!, the DNA evidence against these guys exonerated them. He nursed this along to get elected, to stoke hate and what, to entertain his sadism?

The victim can't remember if she was penetrated. Betsy says:

This now makes version 6.0 of the accuser's stories about what happened that night. The Raleigh News and Observer detailed the first five versions in an August story. Her story ranged from being raped to just being groped, but no rape, to the other stripper stealing $2000 from her and urging her to have sex the guys to being raped by five men in the bathroom to being raped by three men in the bathroom. The role of the other stripper changes in each version of the story. The most graphic is the story she told the examining nurse at the hospital.

The woman said she was taken into a bathroom where three men -- Adam, Brett and Matt -- raped her anally, vaginally and orally, using racial and sexual slurs while they assaulted her. One of the men, Matt, said he was getting married the next day. They did not use condoms and threatened to kill her if she didn't comply, the woman said, according to the nurse's notes.

And now, eleven months later, she isn't sure if she was penetrated. Perhaps the fact that there was no DNA evidence in any crevice of her body from the non-condom wearing lacrosse team members made that memory go dim, but we've known that there was no DNA evidence for a long time. Maybe she didn't like the idea of having to testify about the multiple DNA that was found in her body. I don't know if that evidence would still be allowed in if there is no rape charge, but I would think that it would go to her credibility, especially since she denied having had sex for a week before the party.

No DNA and even still, opinions like these are put forth:
But Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor who now teaches at the New England School of Law, said the decision could actually help Nifong by keeping any discussion about the results of the DNA testing away from the jury.

"It may be that this is a strategic move to insulate the trial itself from a sideshow that certainly would have overwhelmed all the other evidence," Murphy said. "A sideshow about her sex life."
A sideshow? Um, Ms. Murphy, I would say that her sex life, her memory, the other DNA are absolutely critical to her credibility. This is a stripper who could have cried rape because the lacrosse players wouldn't submit to her extortion. Getting rid of the DNA evidence, means relying on her for the evidence and she doesn't seem all that reliable.

Mary Katherine Ham, familiar with Durham, says this (and this is what I worry about):
It’s Durham. It’s full of a bunch of liberal white people who love to get yelled at by black people, and a bunch of liberal black people who are happy to oblige them. This story scratched that white guilt itch soooo good, they just couldn’t let it go, even though it was pretty clear from the beginning that the story was a little off.

The national media liked the white, privileged, lax boys rape hard-working, exotic dancer, single mom story, and they ran with it, too. As a result, many lives, seasons, careers, and a successful sports program have been seriously messed with by a D.A. who couldn’t back off on the narrative, either, lest he feel the wrath at the ballot box from those whom he denied their white guilt orgy.
She believes the case will go to trial because of the community EST. And continues:
For those of you laboring under the misapprehension that Nifong will face a recall or charges for his misbehavior, or that Duke President Brodhead will face consequences for offering up the Duke lacrosse players and the entire lacrosse program on the altar of political correctness, without evidence, think again.

Durham is not a normal place where people pay normal consequences for bad behavior. As many have noted, the sexual assault and kidnapping charges stand, even though they were predicated on the rape charge in the first place (which, even the accuser's not real sure about these days).
So, let the two lesser charges stand, and see if you can get a jury full of Durham folks who will convict the boys because it fits the narrative? I'm just afraid he might actually succeed. K.C. Johnson thinks it's the beginning of the end of the case. Geez, I hope so, but I grew up in Durham. Forgive me if I'm not as hopeful.

Cobb has more.

Liestoppers has all the dirt.

KC Johnson calls this the "beginning of the end". We can hope. I'm just not sure.

After all this, the rage the media, the local elites, the "oppressed" will feel at being denied will fuel this thing on, I fear. There is blood in the water and the sharks are circling and they're hungry.

From a psychological perspective, the only way I see this ending is that Nifong perceives the personal injury to himself (jail, prosecution, disbarment) to outweigh the glory he receives indulging in the community blood lust. He is a classic narcissist in over his head. But those durn narcissists are into self-preservation.

This commenter at LaShawn Barber's says this:
Commenter Richard Nieporent wrote:

It is perfectly obvious what Nifong is doing by not dismissing all of the charges. He is holding the three Duke Lacrosse players hostage in an attempt to prevent their lawyers from filing criminal and civil charges against him. Nifong knows that it much easier to convict the Duke Lacrosse players of sexual assault because DNA evidence is not needed. He is hoping that by holding these remaining charges over their heads they will be amenable to a quid pro quo of Nifong dropping all charges if they do not pursue a criminal or civil case against him.

I've said it before, parents, DON'T SEND YOUR KIDS TO DUKE. That community and that college is evidently an abomination. Looks like that is already happening.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Obama Isn't the Right Kind of Black

Captain Ed beautifully illustrates the frustrating limitation of identity politics--eventually no one qualifies. I will quote nearly his whole post. It is excellent:

US political darling Barack Obama has received enthusiastic support for a possible 2008 presidential bid -- except from fellow African-Americans, a group many believed would be among his staunchest backers.

In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history.

"Obama did not -- does not -- share a heritage with the majority of black Americans, who are descendants of plantation slaves," wrote African-American newspaper columnist Stanley Crouch last month in an article entitled "Barack Obama -- Not Black Like Me." ...

"While he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own -- nor has he lived the life of a black American," Crouch wrote in his New York Daily News column.

"If we then end up with him as our first black president, he will have come into the White House through a side door -- which might, at this point, be the only one that's open."

It's pretty early in the electoral cycle for this kind of analysis, but it does point up the problem with identity politics -- getting the identities correct. Despite his experiences as a baby-boomer ethnic mix, he has not found acceptance with African-Americans, or perhaps because of it. It's a strange argument, because although Obama's ancestry does not flow through American slavery, it would have mattered little to his formative experiences. After all, bigots rarely ask politely about parentage before attacking people, and to the extent that anyone experiences racism and bigotry, it occurs because of their appearance. Getting to know people almost always reduces or eliminates hatreds.

One has to wonder whether any African-American with a successful life story could garner support with the dynamic reported by AFP in play, if it really exists. Radio host George Wilson describes the anti-Obama sentiment as a reflexive reaction to the support he has garnered from whites, saying that such enthusiasm makes African-Americans automatically suspicious. If true, it would be terribly self-defeating.

Obama hasn't used a side door for anything so far in his political career, although the Republicans made it very easy for him in the 2004 Senate race by nominating Alan Keyes. Nor will he do so in a presidential run. For some reason, however, people do not want to allow him to run as his own person on his own platform, choosing instead to assign him one identity or another, with the result of denying him his individuality -- the inevitable end product of identity politics.

Obama would make a lousy President, but not because of his supposed identity issues. His policy choices are lockstep liberal, and his rhetoric is superficial, even if expertly delivered. He will remain a top-drawer political figure because of his genuine nature and his likability. Obama will remain enough of an outsider to produce pithy analyses of the Capitol Hill environment, and he will represent the liberal constituencies of Illinois well. Even if he doesn't win the White House, he may help to end the ridiculous practice of identity politics over the next couple of decades -- and if he does, that will be legacy enough for any man or woman of this era.

Let's quit focusing on skin color and middle names, and start focusing on policy.

Amen. One has to wonder if Martin Luther King's dream was a pipe dream.

Internet Anonymity

You may have noticed that I have discontinued taking anonymous comments. For those trying to protect their identity for legitimate reasons, this will be disappointing. My reason for the change is to filter out the one person (she knows who she is) who is attempting to harass and intimidate me and others at the site. Please be warned crazy Anonymous, your posts will be copied and given to the authorities. So STOP.

Internet newbies should know that someone who has a blog can track each visit. I know the city, state, ISP address, browser and even the kind of operating system each visitor uses. Every website owner is privy to this information of every visitor if he or she or it (the corporation) so chooses to track and look at it. Likewise, my information is also shared wherever I go on the web.

There is no such thing as being anonymous on the Web. The internet is designed to connect and that is exactly what it does. And it does it very well. Keep that in mind when commenting everywhere. This Internets thingy has a long, long memory.

Changing A Mind

ShrinkWrapped writes of the difficult task to change a mind. He says this:

[Of note, one of the most common reactions in Psychoanalysis to an accurate interpretation is anger. When we show a person something about themselves that they have managed to keep themselves unaware of, it is often an unpleasant experience and they do not thank us.]
You wouldn't believe the number of people who would rather die than change their mind. Change diet, change lifestyle, but change a killer belief? Never.

Mary's Baby

You'd think I would be talking about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, given the season. Alas, no. I'm talking about Mary Cheney's baby (or should I say fetus at this point, since it's not really real until it's born).

First, I wish Mary and her partner well. I hope the baby is healthy. I happen to believe that every baby born belongs in this world and deserves love. There is no doubt, this baby will be loved.

Second, I want to make clear that I never voted for Mary Cheney. She is not an elected official. What she does with her personal life (remember Clinton's defense of his personal life?) is personal.

Third, a baby, of course, is a very demonstrable result of two people doing something. When I was first pregnant, it felt like people were staring. Everyone knows how this baby happened! Blush. So it begs the question with Mary. I'm quite sure she wasn't the second immaculate conception. So, curiosity arouses, how did know..... It may be a mystery that is never solved. It's personal.

Fourth, since Mary Cheney is not a political figure, I find it tawdry what gay activists like Andrew Sullivan are doing(and I call him a gay activist because he has lost the ability to articulately comment on anything else). He's using a personal happening for political reasons. She is a real person, Andrew, she is not Murphy Brown. And this is where I disagree with Ann Althouse. When she says this:

Sullivan taunts. It's a political -- and bloggerly -- strategy. Mary Cheney's pregnancy is an occasion. He uses it. That's what bloggers do. There's an event. You note it, and then you play off of it, springing all your usual opinions, making them exquisitely timely all over again. Tagging other bloggers in the course of your writing is a good way to get them to link to you and boost your visibility. It isn't bad -- it's good -- if they are antagonized and they lash back the way Jonah. This is the kind of writing keeps the political blogosphere going. (I realize Andrew's piece is in a magazine, but it's linked through his blog, and it operates by the bloggerly method.)
I find it inhumane, forget bloggerly, to use a private citizen's life for public comment when the person in question has made no effort to bring that part of her life into the public arena this way. Mary Cheney is not a gay rights activist. Would it be bloggerly for me to start hypothesizing about Anne's sexuality, her reasons for divorce, her parenting? (I know none of the above and, as far as I know, none of it has been discussed in her blog or if it has, I've missed it. I'm assuming she doesn't talk about it because it's private. I, on the other hand, have brought the issue of autism out in the public arena, as I have a son with autism. That doesn't give anyone the right to harass my son, but it does give them a right to discuss and disagree with my opinions on autism. Andrew Sullivan has made an issue of his sexuality so it's up for discussion.)

In addition, even public figures, Bill Clinton included, did his best to keep his private life private (in his case, it's publicly relevant when he's screwing an intern in the Oval office) as do many celebrities. When the person in question is a political figure like Dick Cheney, or a public figure like Pastor Whats-His-Name in Colorado, or a Celebrity like Britney Spears or Rosie O'Donnell, fine. Andrew Sullivan is welcome to make his same point talking about say Melissa Etheridge who proudly displayed her partner and twin children on the cover of Us Magazine.

But that's not the point, with Sullivan, is it? He makes his point clear in the title and first paragraph of the New Republic article: "Mary's Baby and the Right: Quite Contrary",
What are Republicans going to do about homosexuals? The fact that this question has been asked repeatedly does not mean that anyone has yet given it a serious answer. There are, broadly speaking, two rival conservative factions on the subject: religious fundamentalists, who want to outlaw or deter homosexual love and sex on biblical or natural law grounds; and old-school conservatives, who want to treat the entire issue as a private matter--supporting public policy hostile to gay people and gay relationships while privately treating gay individuals with tact and respect....

Sullivan uses Mary Cheney because he thinks she epitomizes the Right's hypocrisy. Let's get down to brass tacks. Andrew Sullivan is angry that people don't see Gay Marriage his way. The way of "reality". As a conservative (socially conservative and otherwise liberal--Sullivan in contrast is as progressive as Al Gore), there are enduring cultural and religious reasons that Sullivan isn't going to win the battle between "ideology" and his "reality" anytime soon:
  1. Christians, by definition, are Christ followers. To Christians, the Bible is still the Good Book and even if not viewed literally in every jot and tittle, no jot or tittle has passed away. So, the sanctions against homosexuality are as equally valid as the sanctions against divorce and the sanctions against fornication (promiscuity) and the sanctions against adultery.
  2. Christians, the "mere ones" as C.S. Lewis says, are quite comfortable with loving the sinner and hating the sin. Therefore, they can maintain friendships with divorced people, adulterers, gays, fornicators. And, they can stand to look in the mirror because they know they are sinners, too, forgiven by God.
  3. Christians, just because they try to live in love, does not mean they condone or would want to state sanction that behavior. I, for one, do not believe it was good public policy to make divorce more easily available and socially acceptable. Must we count the ways this SIN has hurt families? Poverty, unsocialized children being raised without the benefit of a mother or most times, a father. To wit, only 36% of black children live with both their mother and their father. Are we to look at the desperation to be found and not condemn the causes? Adultery, fornication, divorce, sins all, have hardened hearts and hurt children and ultimately hurt society. So yes, I condemn the state for reinforcing these unhelpful actions. (Shhh, sins.)
  4. Even nominal Christians do not favor changing cultural norms and definitions. It is the warping of the language and meaning which is problematic for even some people who do not object to gay marriage on a theoretical level. Gays want to superimpose their culture on the culture at large. This is not a matter of being open-minded or inclusive or diverse. This is a matter of changing a socially accepted construct to fit their definition. I'm surprised the gays are surprised at the push-back. Marriage has been, for millenia, by definition between a man and woman.
  5. No one is discriminating against gays by keep the marriage definition the same. I could call myself a man. Of course, by definition, I'm a woman, but I'm free to say whatever I want. It's not going to make me a man unless the definition changes to mean anything can be a man. Gays are welcome to call themselves married. No one is stopping them. They are free to express themselves.
  6. The laws are no more oppressive to gays than to anyone else. Unmarried heterosexual people do not get "partnership benefits". If I am on my deathbed, anyone I choose can be my durable power of attorney. Anyone I choose to will my belongings to gets them. Gays are free to have this paperwork, too.
  7. With 60-70% of people, 80% in some states, putting up marriage amendments, it's not just the Republicans who are dealing with this question, Andrew. You're not so dull-witted to not know this. By framing this topic this way, you ignore the 20-60% of Democrats who voted for these amendments. Aren't the Democrats the ones who pissed and moaned about the fact that Democrats are religious, too?
Speaking of intolerant, this is how you describe my aforementioned views:
On Mary Cheney, they are forced to take a stand. But any stand either attacks the base of the party or attacks someone they know and love. So they have no alternative but to stand very still, say nothing, and hope that someone changes the subject. It is as close to intellectual and moral bankruptcy as one can imagine...
Accuse me of being morally bankrupt, if you will, you condemning jerk, but I'm content with my views and the views of my fellow Americans. America is remarkably tolerant to people of different religious and ideological stripe.

When a lesbian friend gets pregnant, I'll buy the baby a gift for the shower. I'll give the new mom a hug. I'll love them both. I'll mourn for the child who is being raised without a father--especially given that my friend had a horrible childhood with an abusive father. She knows what a difference a good father could have made. My friend will know that I disagree with her choice, but that I love her and her partner.

It is the very same thing I did for a single parent mother friend of mine. While disagreeing with her choices, a baby is coming and it's reason to rejoice.

My stance here is no different, than the sadness I feel about my friend who is divorced, raising teenage boys on her own while her husband cheated and went off with another woman. This man did a despicable thing. He destroyed a family and hurt his children. He was selfish. I still love him and hope he can soften his heart toward his children.

My stance is no different, than being angry with a friend for cheating on his wife. The damage done has been incalculable even though they're making it work. I am still friends with and love him.

My stance is no different, when I look in the mirror and think about my harsh words, impatience, hateful thoughts, and other bad behavior. I regret them. I get frustrated at my own weakness. I'm humbled by the need to be forgiven over and over every day.

Let anyone who is without sin, cast the first stone. I will leave the stones. That doesn't mean that a sin isn't a sin.

Andrew Sullivan wants homosexuality to be taken out of the sin sphere. He's not alone in that attempt. He wants to redefine marriage. He wants America to be a secular society with religions rather than a Judeo-Christian society that tolerates those who hold different beliefs. I hope Andrew Sullivan is denied his wish.

Sandy Burgler: Something Stinks

What is an aide to President Clinton doing lurking around, stuffing papers down his pants, stealing and stashing them at a construction site, and just generally acting weird? I don't think those questions were answered with his $50,000 conviction and 100 hours of public service.

Pardon me for going all conspiracy theorist, but something stinks. Josh Gerston via Instapundit says it looks like Berger was engaging in a classic spy drop:

A leading authority on classification policy, Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, said Mr. Berger's behavior was reminiscent of a "dead drop," when spies leave records in a park or under a mailbox to be retrieved by a handler.

"It seems deliberate and calculated," Mr. Aftergood said. "It's impossible to maintain the pretense that this was an act of absentmindedness."

All five documents Mr. Berger removed were versions of an after-action report about the foiled "millennium plot" to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport and other sites. The internal review, by a top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, reportedly found that luck was the major factor in disrupting the plot and that more attacks were likely.
What bothers me is the utter lack of curiosity on the part of the powers that be. I've come to accept as the norm the Mass Media's disinterest and bland apathetic acceptance of all things nefarious Democrat. But why would an administration at war not be more concerned about a former National Security Advisor acting spy-like? Betsy says this:
Shouldn't the media have been more interested in knowing why he took such a risk in stealing classified documents? What was in those documents? Why did this story go nowhere at the time and we're just finding out these new details because the Associated Press filed a FOIA request? Why didn't all the media outlets want to know that information? after all, these were documents that he was reviewing in order to talk to the 9/11 Commission about security measures taken in the time before 9/11. No one really seems to have cared that there was something that Berger wanted to steal and destroy regarding that period.
Shouldn't people be outraged about this? Why did the Bush Justice Department let him get away with just a slap on the wrist? What about the whole idea that top officials should be punished more severely when they break the law as an example to other potential malefactors? Would some less exalted person who stole classified documents and destroyed them get away with a fine, community service, and a three-year loss of his national security clearance? I doubt it.

This story has popped up again because the redacted report was made available to AP. It will start conservatives talking for a couple of days and then it will go away. Sandy Berger will continue with his consulting business and no one will care. It really was an outrage.
She's right that it will go away. And that's crazy. I want to know WHY the wrist slap? I swear, if I didn't know better, the Clinton clan has some dirt on GW because his administration sure handles these people with kid gloves.

I'm outraged, that's for sure. While it seems plausible that Berger would sticky-finger the Classified documents for the former criminal-in-chief, maybe it's too plausible. We all know the Clintons will do anything legal or illegal to position Hillary to win in '08. But it's like a doctor getting side-tracked with an obvious symptom only to ignore the potentially lethal underlying problem. Are we sure we know what underlying problem Sandy Berger was trying to solve?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Eurabia Grows

Think that the fears of a lost Western civilization are unfounded? It's amazing how fast it can happen. Elected Muslim officials funding terrorists with Euros in Brussels. How's that?

Rosie & Donnie Sittin' In A Tree

Rosie fatigue set in for me years back when she treated Tom Selleck like dirt on her show because he was an NRA member. She struck me as unstable, angry and mean. My opinion of her has yet to change.

So today, she tees off on Donald Trump over the Miss USA Pageant thing. Um, besides a big "who cares?", what is there to say about the fact that a boobilicious babe gets a "second chance." Well, to Rosie it's a big deal. But that's not the whole story. Her real animus seeps through with this statement:

"There he is, hair looping, going everyone, everyone deserves a second chance," she began. "He's the moral authority? Left the first wife, had an affair, left the second wife, had an affair, had kids both times, but he's the moral compass for twenty year olds in America. Donald, sit and spin, my friend."
Could her anger be thinly disguised discrimination based on sexual orientation? He is a married, divorced twice, white, rich man and that alone is deserving of contempt in Rosie's world. And what white man would take on a lesbian talk show host without fear of enduring raining hail of scorn?

Only, it seems, Donald Trump. He fired back and how. Here's a nutshell:
In turn, Trump, who became aware of the Rosie comments earlier this morning, branded her "a loser." "Rosie's been a loser for a long time," he told Access. Her magazine failed, she got sued. She folded up like a tent."

He also sent a stern warning over O'Donnell's outburst and suggested she watch her partner.

"Rosie is somebody out of control who really just doesn't have it and she ought to be careful because I'll send one of my friends to pick up her girlfriend and I think it would be very easy," he said.

I don't know what he means by that threat. He was p.o.'d that's for sure. He called her "ugly inside and out".

And here's what Billy Bush at the Access Blog says:

'Twas the week before Christmas and all seemed to be quiet. Then the alley cat of morning chat starts a little riot.

I tried to avoid commenting on this latest dust between Rosie and Donald. Both are unafraid to launch verbal attacks, both are publicly pugnacious and both are doing their best to make sure there is no such thing as a quiet week in the entertainment "crap-o-sphere"


If its true that "opposites attract", then the reverse is also true. Rosie and Donald, "Ronald", are ham on ham, no cheese. They are rich, tough, outspoken, fearless....lightning rods for controversy and PR geniuses.

The PR part is definitely true, but I don't buy that these people don't hate each other to the core. The dislike for each other is palpable. Rosie is a bully and utterly self-unaware. Donald's advice to Rosie, "Better not leave your girlfriend, 'cuz she's truly nice and you'll never get another one" seems odd considering. Donald, of all people, should know that money bags hot babes. Even Rosie doesn't have to worry about that.

Think I'm wrong? I have two words: Anna Nicole.

John Hawkin's Favorite Quotes

Oh my, there are so many that are great, I can't list them all. Some are laugh out loud funny:

10) "A couple of years back, I began some generalization or other by saying, "The difference between America and Canada is . . ." And the American I was imparting this insight to interrupted me with: "The difference between America and Canada is that Americans don't care what the difference between America and Canada is." -- Mark Steyn
And these:

15) "The Republicans lost and the Democrats won for the same reason -- they distanced themselves from their base." -- Dave S. from Tim Blair's comment section Via Instapundit & Eject!Eject!Eject!

14) "Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered special services to "find and destroy" the killers of four Russian diplomats taken hostage in Iraq." -- BBC News

13) "(Keith) Olbermann has a Teflon ego. No matter how stupid he looks or how obviously wrong he is or how completely devoid of wit his copy is, he is perpetually pleased as punch with himself and convinced that the rest of the world is as moist over his brilliance as he is. It's almost like schizophrenia.

Olbermann: I'm the wittiest, cleverest pundit in all the galaxy! All sentient beings worship me and wish to carry my magical seed!

Orderly: You're in an observation cell clutching a beanie baby and standing in your own poo.

Olbermann: What? An autograph? Why of COURSE!" -- Steve H.

Gut Flora Affects Fatness

Unbalanced gut flora results in the gut absorbing way more calories from the same amount of food as skinny people eat. When some overweight people complain "but I don't eat more than other people!" they are likely telling the truth. They might just be extracting more calories from the food:

In one study, Gordon and colleagues looked at what happened in mice with changes in bacteria level. When lean mice with no germs in their guts had larger ratios of Firmicutes transplanted, they got "twice as fat" and took in more calories from the same amount of food than mice with the more normal bacteria ratio, said Washington University microbiology instructor Ruth Ley, a study co-author.

It was as if one group got far more calories from the same bowl of Cheerios than the other, Gordon said.

In a study of dozen dieting people, the results also were dramatic.

Before dieting, about 3 percent of the gut bacteria in the obese participants was Bacteroidetes. But after dieting, the now normal-sized people had much higher levels of Bacteroidetes — close to 15 percent, Gordon said.

Balancing the gut flora is key. Things that put the gut out of balance:
  • Viri
  • Bacterial infections
  • Antibiotics
  • Stress (inhibits good bacteria)
  • Food sensitivities
If an imbalance continues for a long time, nutritional absorption changes. And that, it seems, can make you fat.

James Rago

Hi, my name is James Rago and I use big words. A lot. It makes me sound smart. Plus, I'm an influencer. Plus, I get paid to be an influencer. Plus, I am way better than bloggers.

I'm really cool. And you're not.

I'm dumbing this down because I'm smarter than you and I want to you to understand my point which is that you are not smart.

Wait! A better way to illustrate your stupidity is to use big words. Here's some good ones:

  • fatuities
  • logorrheic
  • solipsistic
  • ecumenicalism
  • vastation
  • instantaneity
  • valorizes
Ha! Ha! You don't even know you've been dissed, yo! Sure I could have used the words foolish,
excessive talking (unlike my post which is succinct and cogent), self-centered, universal, devastation, instantaneous, and value, but that would have been so plebeian. Since I, of the storied Patrician class, thinketh elegant thoughts, I must express myself thusly. I wouldn't expect one such as yourself to understand.

Au revoir, peasants. I must be off to tend to my tres importante editorial duties.


My favorite sentence in James Rago's rant:
People also like validation of what they already believe; the Internet, like all free markets, has a way of gratifying the mediocrity of the masses.
Which is in stark contrast to the Mass Media. What a pompous ass.

Jeff Goldstein says this and I'm still giggling:
Rago: “No, no, no! You don’t dip me into the Beluga like I’m some barbecue-flavored Pringle, you insufferable...thing. Instead, you delicately smoothe the caviar across the white of my belly, then nibble me with gentle relish, allowing the burst of essence and oil to dance along the tongue and the curve of the palate.

Stressed? Hold Hubby's Hand

Well, that just put my silly little head in a spin. I think I have the vapors. Actually, any happily married woman knows that they feel better when they hold their husband's hand--especially during times of stress.

My questions for the researchers:

  • Is the reverse true? That is, do happily married men experience lower stress responses when their hands are held by their wife? I would guess yes, but that it doesn't work with anyone else.
  • Do women experience the benefits of hand holding when with their best friend? My guess? Yes.
  • Do people who perceive that their spouses love them, but actually, their spouses don't love them, get this response? My guess again, is yes.
Other, related research shows that it's not just a loving relationship that helps. In fact, men who reported "yes my wife loves me" had better health than those who didn't report this--even if their wives independently told researchers that they hated their husbands. Perception, in this case is reality.

Mama has "pressing questions" of her own:
Some pressing questions remain. Is MoDo going to have a shrieking fit of hysteria in the NY Times newsroom over the news that holding her husband's hand when under stress makes a woman better able to cope? Will film of the hysterical fit be released on the internet? Will a feminazi fatwa be issued against the study authors? Will I get all my Christmas baking done?

"Some Critics Say"

This is what TIME Magazine says about a potential plan to undermine Syria (it's about time that something was done with this terrorist state):

Some critics in Congress and the Administration say that such a plan, meant to secretly influence a foreign government, should be legally deemed a "covert action," which by law would then require that the White House inform the intelligence committees on Capitol Hill. Some in Congress would undoubtedly raise objections to this secret use of publicly appropriated funds to promote democracy.
Care to name ONE critic, Time?
However, in order to make the "election monitoring" plan for Syria effective, the proposal makes clear that the U.S. effort will have to be concealed: "Any information regarding funding for domestic [Syrian] politicians for elections monitoring would have to be protected from public dissemination," the document says. But American experts on "democracy promotion" consulted by TIME say it would be unwise to give financial support to a specific candidate in the election, because of the perceived conflict of interest. More ominously, an official familiar with the document explained that secrecy is necessary in part because Syria's government might retaliate against anyone inside the country who was seen as supporting the U.S.-backed election effort. The official added that because the Syrian government fields a broad network of internal spies, it would almost certainly find out about the U.S. effort, if it hasn't already. That could lead to the imprisonment of still more opposition figures.
Well, they know now, don't they? If they believe TIME's "official", "American", "experts", "democracy promotion", and the "some in Congress", "US Foreign Policy experts" and the ever esteemed "critics."

After all these assertions we have a quote from a University of Oklahoma academic and
"Edward P. Djerejian, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria who worked on the Iraq Study Group report".

Other than these two guys, every other opinion can only be credibly attributed to the article's author Adam Zagorin who is revealing classified information. Don't these news organizations have editors? And how can an article go to press without one valid, "on the record" quote?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Politics: Not So Exciting

I love the Holiday Season if for no other reason than the politicians are back home or cavorting in New Hampshire, mugging for the cameras and spouting empty platitudes. Mostly, they're not in Washington, not dripping condescending venom, and not legislating anything. Bliss.

The next two years will be more of the same (Please note that I'm a notoriously bad predictor). There are so many presidential aspirants and sycophants that everyone is going to try to at least appear civilized. Screw the President? Not without looking like a pin-headed obstructionist. Scream and rant? Not unless the image of anti-gravitas wants to be put forth. Bail from Iraq and trumpet anti-troops messages? Invoke that political death-wish if one must.

Oh no, the next two years will overflow with displays of herculean restraint. Everyone is fixated on the Big Prize. The Dems are coming out early and burn, burn, burning through the populace's five-minute attention span. The Republicans are wandering around like the lost bird in Are You My Mother? Will we get a back hoe as the nominee? Stay tuned.

While Bush displays weariness and strange enthusiasm for legislation no one wants, he has shown bursts of the long tall Texan that grates on the world so much. Thankfully, kinda. I hope he puts some of that spine into going the distance in Iraq. He has two years left. I'd be happy if he got out a box of those Sharpies he loves so much and vetoes every piece of legislation that walks across his desk. With the make-up of the Congress it's bound to be bad stuff.

And screw this stupid legacy talk. I hated the navel gazing with Clinton and I don't hate it less with Bush. Who gives a flip? It will be a good ten to twenty-five years before anyone has any perspective on this complicated time. And yes, count me as one of those people peeved at Bush's spending like a shopaholic on a bender.

Hating Bush is de rigeur these days, but even Progressives (and mushy moderates) are going to have to come to terms with the world's realities eventually. Or do they have some super secret special invisible shield to cover the whole country? I don't know, Barack Obama just might.

Appeasement Like It's 1939, Technically 1938

"PEACE IN OUR TIME!!!!!" Yay, Neville! Now we have James Baker.

One of the commenters at YouTube says:

Cindy Sheehan is, like, so 2004. [Although you could add the recent Democratic Congressional pilgrimage, uh, trip, to Cuba, Harry Bellafonte, Steven Spielburg, Oliver Stone ... Then there is John Kerry on his 'fact finding' mission to Syria. ]

An Arab Democracy?

That's what a reader asked when sending the link to this article about the civil war between Fatah and Hamas. This Palestinian says, "I can imagine Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert now watching Gaza and laughing," said Gaza teacher Majed Baseer, 35.

Somehow I doubt that. OK, maybe he's giggling a wee bit.

The Pursuit of Happyness: Stereotype Busting

Will Smith stars in an underdog story with a twist--it's a story that happens a lot in this country and gets scant notice. What is the story? It's the story of a black single father who works to change his lot in life. He overcomes homelessness and joblessness. Today, the man is a millionaire owner of an investment firm.

U.S.A. Today's DeWayne Wickem says this:

The movie, based on Gardner's book by the same title, is the kind of story that continues to escape the notice of many news organizations. The black poor are more likely to show up in unavoidable disaster stories such as those produced by Hurricane Katrina � about people isolated by poverty and misfortune and waiting for rescue.

But like Gardner, most blacks who are mired in poverty work mightily to save themselves. Few are as successful as Gardner is, but most manage to eke out a living that lifts them above dependence on government handouts.

Another story that isn't told in the media is this: Many black success stories have their mom AND THEIR DAD to thank. Just having a dad around seems to promote success. Let's look at some famous blacks:

  1. Michael Jordan--
    Michael Jordan learned to be a man because his father taught him. He may have lost his teacher, but not his teachings. Unlike human life, they are ageless, timeless, eternal. In his son, a part of James Jordan--the best part--still lives. Michael is his father's heir apparent. He proved that on October 6 when he walked away from basketball to become Air. A Parent.
  2. Tiger Woods--
    "He did a lot of different things, but I tell you what, he always it was interesting thing about dad is every time he played, he always wanted to teach a lesson. That's just how he was. So every time we played, every weekend, there was always a lesson to be learned, and he always used to just keep harping on me that; learn something from this round. It doesn't always have to apply to golf. Each and every round, the things you deal with in golf can be life experiences on a smaller scale; it's a microcosm. That's something dad was always harping on me about, to try to get an understanding of that."
  3. Beyonce Knowles-
    They believed in her so much that Beyonce's father quit his job to manage Destiny's Child while her mother, Tina, worked long hours at her hair salon to support the family.

    Her mother recalls that time, saying, “It was very stressful because we went from having two really great incomes to having one. We had to scale down the house. Sell the cars. It was a really tough time for us.”

    Did people think you were nuts?

    Tina Knowles says, “Oh yeah, people thought we were nuts a lot more than we did. They really thought we were crazy.”
There are really too many accomplished people to mention. Condoleeza Rice, for one. Children need their father. These celebrities need to trumpet the influence their fathers had on their success (most do this). We need movies. We need the spotlight shown on men being men.

I'm so glad that Will Smith decided to take on this project. Hopefully, it will give people hope and bust some stereotypes along the way.

I'm a Porche 911 Baby! UPDATED, Scroll Down

I'm a Porsche 911!

You have a classic style, but you're up-to-date with the latest technology. You're ambitious, competitive, and you love to win. Performance, precision, and prestige - you're one of the elite,and you know it.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

The Anchoress is a Mustang. She must like going topless in the summer. Gotta be careful about those Catholic girls--they're often the wild ones.

Me, a Porche 911? I'm not sure what to make of that. Those cars sound like baby buzz saws when they're idling. It's a tad disconcerting since I've been an all-American girl my whole life. Hey, I'm open to new possibilities. Actually, it makes sense. I married an Italian, after all.

I'm wondering what sports car my hubby is....I know which car he wants. Since it costs as much as a modest house, and since I don't see a bathroom, shower and tax deduction to go with it, it's still a dream.

UPDATE: Here's the Hubby's results:

He's a Chevrolet Corvette!

You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

It's somewhat disturbing how accurate these personality summaries turn out. What are you & why?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Free Speech Haters Snow & Rockefeller

Apparently, U.S. lawmakers intent on stifling free speech are drawing attention from across the pond:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, has sent an open letter to Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Snowe (R-Maine) in response to their recent open letter telling the CEO of ExxonMobil to cease funding climate-skeptic scientists. (


Concludes Lord Monckton, "I challenge you to withdraw or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer- reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably call 'disastrous' and 'calamitous' consequences."

I don't know why, but I find this funny.

Wet Fish Handshake

Seth Godin reminded me today of the horror that is the "wet fish handshake". Any person who wants to make a good impression with people must master the handshake. Here's the deal:

  1. Extend arm with authority
  2. Hold firmly around the person's hand (ladies do NOT leave your hand in the middle of the other person's hand like you're in Victorian England--and men, if you do this, I must fight the compulsive urge to throw up)
  3. Don't linger, don't flee. Count to two and be done.
  4. Don't do the hand-over hand. If you're that cozy with someone, give them a hug.
  5. Men, don't kiss a woman's hand. Just. Don't.
  6. Don't include any pump action in the shake. Just shake the hand.

Simple. No more wet fishes. And if you have this problem, practice over and over and over and over until it is expunged from your repertoire. It must go. Jazz hands are a close second, but we'll deal with that another day.

John Hawkin's Most Obnoxious Quotes of 2006

Not his, specifically, but he highlights the worst of the worst. My favorite least favorites:

32) "It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans, and I don't care what people are saying uptown wherever they are, this city will be chocolate at the end of the day. This city will be a majority African-American city -- it's the way God wants it to be." -- New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin

25) "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America." -- Rosie O'Donnell

16) "The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country� I don't see why people care about patriotism." -- Natalie Maines

9) "Again, (America is) a stupid country with stupid people who don't pay attention." -- Bill Maher

Survive in the Wild

After the family in Oregon lost their husband and father to hypothermia, the hubby and I discussed survival methods. #1: There was almost universal agreement by experts--DON'T LEAVE THE SHELTER & STAY PUT. This is good information for my family. I married into a family full of men I call "The Happy Wanderers." I've not been able to find them at the airport baggage claim because they won't just stay put. Heaven help the rescue workers sent to find them in the wilderness.

Besides staying put, here are more strategies for survival.

Abu Kai: The Problem With Kerry

The problem with beltway politics is that politicians always assume that their opponents must not be doing the right thing, even if they can't figure out what exactly they're doing wrong. Democrats like Kerry, who can't figure out where to stand on the Iraq debate, end up pandering to anti-Bush sentiments because that's all they can do. Not that Bush didn't screw up-- but how do you fix someone's mistakes by making more mistakes? How do you replace a grandiose idea with an illusion about a cooperative Assad regime?
Kerry has nothing useful to say, but that doesn't keep him from talking. Another problem with all politicians is that they just can't ever be quiet.

Blog Divas

My vote is the Anchoress. She is smart, incisive and sweet-natured. And when someone deserves a smack-down, she delivers it in such a lovely way. They don't even know they've been K.O.'d until they wake up looking at the stars. She's. Just. That. Good.

Go check out the other nominees at Gay Patriot.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

William-Sonoma Suing Target

Frankly, I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. (Don't you hate it when someone starts a sentence with "Frankly"? I mean, are you normally evasive and it's a rare thing when you're truthful?)

It seems to me that it will be a difficult fight especially since so many of Targets lines are made by specialty designers who create their own offerings.

If I'm a typical customer, William-Sonoma is in trouble. I saw a chandelier that I liked there, but didn't want to spend $300. So, on a lark, I went over to Target, found the exact same thing (minus one little detail) for $100 less. The design was so basic, however, that I don't know if they could sue over it. Probably every lighting store in the country carries the same chandelier.

William-Sonoma is falling into the Gap problem. They are neither high enough (Sur La Table) nor low enough (Target). They are getting mushed in the middle. Some of their things are just a wee bit over-priced, in my opinion. When I find something I love, I try to find the cheaper version of it, if I can. If not, I might break down and pay the price.

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

I'll give you three guesses who Time's "Man of the Year" is and the first two don't count. (Hint: Go look in the mirror you sexy beast you.)

Could the editors of that silly magazine be any stupider? Captain Ed agrees and has some salient points. He says:

Eh. So this is the year for the great huddled masses? Wouldn't that have been 1989, when the momentum of freedom and liberty felled an Evil Empire and tore down a wall in Berlin? Instead, Time selected Mikhail Gorbachev, and also named him its Man of the Decade for managing to take the Soviet Union into oblivion. The fact that they selected him over the two men responsible for forcing him into that position shows the problems Time has always had in seeing the long view of history.
He would have picked President Good Hair of Iran and Kim Jong B'Illin of North Korea. Actually, I agree with him. Those two whack-jobs kinda informed the debate this year, didn't they?

Merry Christmas from Mark Steyn

Once again, Mark Steyn gets it right:

Everyone who knows Rabbi Bogomilsky says he's an affable fellow, he doesn't want to Scrooge up anybody's Christmas, he's an all-around swell guy. No doubt. But in the week when the president of Iran hosts an international (and well-attended) Holocaust Denial Convention (which simultaneously denies the last Holocaust while gleefully anticipating the next one), this rabbi thinks it's in the interests of the Jewish people to take legal action against "holiday" decorations at Seattle Airport? Sorry, it's not the airport but the plaintiff who's out of his tree. An ability to prioritize is an indispensable quality of adulthood, and a sense of proportion is a crucial ingredient of a mature society.

This isn't about religion. Jesus is doing just fine in the United States. Forty years of ACLU efforts to eliminate God from the public square have led to a resurgent, evangelical and politicized American Christianity unique in the Western world. What the rabbi in Seattle and the cops in Riverside are doing is colluding in an assault on something more basic: They're denying the possibility of any common culture. America is not a stamp collection with one of each. It's an overwhelmingly Christian country with freedom of religion for those who aren't. But it's quite an expansion of "freedom of religion" to argue that "those who aren't" are entitled to forbid any public expression of America's Christian inheritance except as part of an all-U-can-eat interfaith salad bar. In their initial reaction, Seattle Airport got it right: To be forced to have one of everything is, ultimately, the same as having nothing. So you might as well cut to the chase.

What, after all, is the rabbi objecting to? There were no bauble-dripping conifers in the stable in Bethlehem. They didn't sing "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," either. That's, in effect, an ancient pop song that alludes to the birth of the Savior as a call to communal merry-making: No wonder it falls afoul of an overpoliced overlitigated "diversity" regime. Speaking of communal songs, they didn't sing "White Christmas" round the manger. A Jew wrote that. It's part of the vast Jewish contribution to America's common culture.

OK, I biggie sized the text there, because it's important. America started out Christian and remains overwhelmingly Christian. The freedom is granted to those who are not Christian or for those who worship Christ in their own way. It is still granted. And that, unlike other intolerant countries is one reason America is great--for everyone.

H/T Gina

Tech You Need to Know

Two technologies caught my "that doesn't seem like a good idea" attention:
1) A technology that sends an electric current through your skin to unlock doors, call on the phone etc.
2) Digital passports. Keep it simple. Paper is "hacked" enough.

Other technologies were very interesting. I especially liked the solar panels. I'm waiting to deck out my house. I have a dream of going "off grid".

H/T RightWingNews

Danny Bonaduce Smacks Down Conspiracy Nut

Oh my goodness me, Danny is all grown-up and opening a can of rhetorical whup-ass on some dude who believes 9/11 was an inside job. (There is swearing, but it's bleeped for the most part. And I do think, after you see this clown in action, you may feel that Danny is being far too kind to this, um, very foolish fellow.

H/T Newsbusters

Bullying Can Be Deadly

Siggy says, "This family gives new meaning to 'dysfunctinoal family'." Sometimes the trauma of bullying is emotional, sometimes physical and sometimes, it's deadly:

Detective Chief Inspector John Dineen, who led the investigation, said:

"This was clearly a pre-mediated attack on the Cochranes. None of the evidence that we have uncovered points even remotely to the idea that the Connors set fire to that house on the spur of the moment.

"Jane and Natalie appear to have become increasingly obsessed with seeking retribution for some perceived slight to them in the past. It is so minor that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what sparked this obsession, but the Cochranes' bore the brunt of it nonetheless, with devastating consequences.

Two girls, former friends, part ways. One of the girls starts bullying the other and her parents join the act eventually burning down the home of the girl's family--waiting until they are asleep to commit the heinous crime. Both parents died. The object of the obsession survives, but must live without her parents. The murderers go to jail. In Texas, one would hope they'd go to the chair.

It is amazing what mentally unstable, amoral people will do when they perceive themselves to be wronged by someone. Often times it starts in the mind--obsessing and fantasizing about revenge or the desired outcome, progressing to stalking, continues as harassment, and ends with a violent act. Unless and until the person sees their behavior for what it is--manipulation and aggression--the behavior escalates.

In contrast, mentally stable, moral people recognize that circumstances don't always fulfill their desires. They rationally deal with this disappointment and move on. Usually, healthy people are also busy and have ways to fill their time other than becoming fixated on someone else's life.

H/T Sigmund, Carl and Alfred