Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Personal Stuff On Blogs

Is personal stuff on blogs "oversharing"? Ace thinks so:

One thing I agree with: The personal stuff on blogs? I know a lot of people consider blogs to be partly a personal journal, but I've always had a major "ick" reaction to that. Not just Sullivan's beagles, boyfriend, and bronchitis stuff, but personal stuff from anyone.

Who cares?

I try to avoid that myself under the "who cares" principle.

I guess a lot of people do care, but it always seemed like oversharing to me.
So what of it, do you like when bloggers share personal stuff or is it "oversharing"?
Should bloggers share personal stuff?
Sometimes (comment below) free polls

Germany: State Determinism

The notion of individual liberty is not German. Can you imagine a 16 year old being forcibly taken from parents because they home school? This case is disturbing on so many levels. The Dr. Speak is what bothers me the most. Can't you just hear the soothing tones of a superior cooing about what is good for you? Check out the doctor's notes.

No I.Q. tests, no physical symptoms, she is healthy and fine, but this is what the Doctors say:

Melissa Busekros was examined by us. She has a childhood emotional disorder, severe school phobia and an oppositional denial-syndrome. Melissa lacks insight into her illness and the need for treatment, and considers herself healthy and her behaviour fully normal. M. needs urgent help in a closed setting if need be, and subsequent special education treatment to ensure schooling.

As it isn't furthermore not possible for the parents to judge the danger to their daughter correctly, and make the necessary decisions about the daughter's further development or the type and length of the treatment and the schooling, the responsibility for her residence, healthcare and representation before officials and authorities should rest with the youth welfare office in Erlangen.

By reason of the ascertained findings, at the present moment, we must proceed from the assumption that the child's welfare is endangered and also the conditions for inpatient placement a therapeutic special education facility are met. By reason of the severity of the symptomatology, the provision of stable and dependable contacts with peers and adult caretakers as well as the development of Melissa's very limited mental ability to cope with pressure can only be assured in such facilities.
M. is incapable of leading the self-determined and self-structured life she wishes. The necessary measure is necessary for avoiding a considerable endangerment to her further physical and emotional development, and it can only be implemented in a special education setting, as previous experience shows that she whould avoid other measures.
In addition, M. needs professional child and adolescent psychiatric treatment and care, that can be implemented in an outpatient setting. By reason of the detected clinical-psychiatric disorders, Melissa Busekros' psychological health has already deviated from the condition which is typical for the respective age for at least one year. M. has met the requirements for granting integration assistance as per (SGB VIII) §35a, section 1, sentence 2, No. 1, because without future professional therapeutic help there is the danger that her participation in the life of society is restricted.

Her psychological health has deviated from the condition which is typical for the respective age for at least one year? Does that mean she is immature emotionally, developmentally by a year? These pictures surely demonstrate a deranged family.

Paul Belian points to this Washington Times op-ed. Read the whole thing. In case you're not absolutely convinced that Europe and America have entirely different notions of what democracy, freedom, etc. really mean, here is evidence.
Home-schooling has been illegal in Germany since Adolf Hitler outlawed it in 1938 and ordered all children to be sent to state schools. The home-schooling community in Germany is tiny. As Hitler knew, Germans tend to obey orders unquestioningly. Only some 500 children are being home-schooled in a country of 80 million. Home-schooling families are prosecuted without mercy.
Last March, a judge in Hamburg sentenced a home-schooling father of six to a week in prison and a fine of $2,000. Last September, a Paderborn mother of 12 was locked up in jail for two weeks. The family belongs to a group of seven ethnic German families who immigrated to Paderborn from the former Soviet Union. The Soviets persecuted them because they were Baptists. An initiative of the Paderborn Baptists to establish their own private school was rejected by the German authorities. A court ruled that the Baptists showed "a stubborn contempt both for the state's educational duty as well as the right of their children to develop their personalities by attending school."
And here, according to World Net Daily, is the German state's solution:
German authorities who sent 15 uniformed police officers to take custody of a 15-year-old girl who committed the crime of being homeschooled now have suggested a solution that, in their minds, would "resolve" the situation: the parents should give up custody of their other five children.
Totalitarianism begins with indoctrinating children, as Hitler well knew.
In 1937, the dictator said, "The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing."

"It is beyond belief that Germany is still enforcing a law that was written for one reason only – to be used by Hitler to control and indoctrinate German youth. It had no other redeeming value," said Shoshona Bat-Zion on a homeschoolers' blog.
And here is why U.S. homeschoolers should be concerned:
A Democrat Senate and a Democrat president could ratify U.N. treaties such as the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, or the European Convention on Human Rights, which is an offshoot of the U.S. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

That is the foundation being cited by the German government to ban homeschooling entirely, and to indoctrinate public and private school students into a sexualized, socialist society.
More information at the links, should you like to act.

Anna Might Have Died From Pneumonia

In Chinese Medicine, the main emotion associated with the lungs is grief. Anna Nicole was certainly a lady of many sorrows. She suffered with pneumonia right after her son died, too.

Reminds me of Christopher Reeve's wife Dana who died of lung cancer even though she never smoked.

China & Iran Cause Worries

According to this. The money quote:

Investors have also seen an unusually fast decline into disarray and outright incompetence by the new Democrat-led Congress. After years of criticizing President Bush, the Democrats have displayed a frightening lack of concern for America's security — reminding everyone they're still the party of Jimmy Carter.
So Iran, China, global security, stupid Democrats, debt, potential recession, and everything Mama talks about all the time and I still don't understand, combine to make investors nervous.

Hillary (Will Not) Go Away

Should we get used to Hillary? Yes, I think we should. Much as pardon troubles and Obama troubles and donor troubles and financial faux pas (don't forget past campaign problems that will sprout again) and her husband's sleaze and greed plague her, Hillary is here to stay. She is nothing if not driven and there is, alas, a certain inevitability to Hillary.

Why do I say this? I believe that a lot of American women want a woman President and will take her no matter what. The cynical, "well, they're all corrupt anyway" will go part of the way to dismiss concerns about Hillary's situational ethics. Only true believers will abandon Hillary on principle and there aren't enough of those on the left to outweigh the average woman's decision. Women want to see a woman in charge. Women go to work, bring home the bacon and run their home lives, they are sick of going to church to be preached at by a man and they are sick of being bossed by male politicians. This emotional undercurrent already sways national politics.

While researching this topic, I stumbled over a great piece by David Frum at the American Enterprise Institute called Remember Soccer Moms? He says:

Clinton's achievement is not unique. Similar trends could be seen in every advanced democracy, often even more dramatic trends. In the United Kingdom, for example, women had strongly backed the Conservatives in every election since 1945, while men almost equally strongly backed Labour. In the 1980s, that old preference reversed itself (ironically under a female prime minister).

Political scientists offer many explanations for women's move to the left and men's move to the right. Female workers are much more likely to hold public sector jobs than male workers, and the left is the party of the public sector. Parties of the left recoil more from war and conflict than parties of the right, and that too appeals to women voters. Women live longer than men and so end up depending more on government-provided health services. You can probably add half a dozen explanations of your own.
All the fawning press over Nancy Pelosi's historic rise to power should serve as a harbinger of things to come. While Democrats are sick of Hillary and Bill, or more specifically, sick of giving them all this money and getting no love in return, they will rally behind her to be part of history. Obama has given them an alternative, but can he win the presidency? No. The public griping, the money to Obama before the primaries send Hillary a message: Don't forget who took care of you.

Don't worry, she won't. She will grit her teeth and through them make Lincoln bedroom promises and play Fleetwood Mac music. The taste.... that luscious taste... What is it again? Oh yes, it's power. Hillary has it via Bill already and she holds the promise of it tomorrow. For women, the power is symbolic. For leftists, the power will be real. And Barack Obama will make a fine Vice President.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

God's Beauty

I'm sitting here in my office (warm and inviting), in front of my iMac (marvel of technology), with a cool breeze blowing through my windows. It is sixty-six degrees and clear and gorgeous. And this night reminds me of why I live in Houston. Temperate loveliness, in February, give me soul-satisfying pleasure after growing up in gray, damp, slippery, frigid Michigan. Tonight is bliss. God is great!

With all the silliness in the political world, with all the meanness and wrongness on the nightly news, with all the injustice that passes for fairness, it's nice to sit and enjoy the perfection that is right here.

I think this night calls for a song. This song reminds me of a plane trip to California when I was a kid. 1977, I think. My brother was two and was a round, blond boy with blue-berry eyes and pink cheeks. Dizzy Gillespie was on the flight and bugged his eyes and blew out his cheeks to my brother who did the same back to him. Everyone was delighted. What a nice man and fantastic musician!

Duke (non) Rape Case STILL Not Over But More Bombshells

Blogged a few hours too soon, evidently. More defense motions revealing more un-friggin-believable evidence. Mike Nifong belongs in jail, now. Charles Johnson reports this:

Today’s defense motion also provides a statistical summary of the Meehan test results:

A collective review of all materials provided to the Defendants and information obtained by the Defendants about DNA Security’s work shows that at least 12 of the 22 rape kit DNA extractions—in other words, over half of them—contained male DNA that did not match the Defendants. [emphasis in original]
How is it possible that this case is still ongoing, and that a criminal investigation of Nifong has not been opened in its stead?
And just this morning, I said this:
Yes, this case drags on and on and on. How much time do the new prosecutors need to look at the evidence? It needs to be OVER. Every minute that passes means more anguish on the part of the real victims.
You know how Saddam Hussein received the benefit of an elaborate trial, lawyers lost their lives defending this genocidal maniac, judges were threatened, and everyone on God's green earth knew he was a murderous scumbag? That, my friends, is not justice. It's moral masturbation. All the civilized Westerners can feel good about themselves, "the process", humanity, posterity, blah, blah, blah. It is ridiculous and makes a mockery of a basic, innate sense of fairness. It is the equivalent of giving the bully who beat the baby senseless, time to "share his feelings" so no one feels bad about himself when there were witnesses to the thuggery and everyone knows the kid is a spoiled, mean-spirited brat.

The Duke case traverses this same road, but to a different end. In this case, every rational, sane person knows that these guys are innocent. Now we have more DNA to prove it. And prove it. And prove it. And prove it. What, exactly, are the new investigators investigating? Holy hell, there is more evidence proclaiming innocence and no one seems the least bit concerned at the cost, trauma and holding pattern that is these three defendants lives.

The new investigators threaten to make a new mockery of justice with every passing day. This is not meticulous brain surgery. Why are they treating it thusly? Hmmm.... Now, there's a question, 'eh? Why would the prosecutors office, draped in Nifong shame, continue this sham?
  1. Political backlash--when this is over the pot-bangers are gonna be angry.
  2. Law suits--when this is over everyone, Duke, the police, Mike Nifong, the whole of North Carolina will be going on trial and deserve every cotton-pickin' minute of it.
  3. Pretending at fairness--giving the evidence the weight it deserves.
I'm just guessing here. Really, I don't care. It's done. Time's up, investigators. The jig is up. Over. Finito. Let these people go, to get on with their lives. Every day that passes, they live in a prison of Mike Nifong's making. And the new investigators are aiding and abetting the criminal that is Nifong by continuing this sham.

Stop the madness.

Yay! Vice President Cheney Almost Was Killed!

We are progressive leftists who love, love, love our enemies!

“You ever see “M*A*S*H”? I wrote that shit, people. So when I tell you that Cheney is a legitimate war criminal—and so an understandable target for an assassination attempt, however deplorable we in the West may find such things—I have, like, 9 freakin’ seasons of Emmy-winning TV to back me up on that.”
That Jeff Goldstein sure doesn't understand us, does he? Doesn't he get satire? I mean, really.

Customer Service: Part II

You know how I talked about customer service the other day? As usual, on this alternate sphere, someone says it better. Over at Passionate Users go see the funniest visual representation of the problem.


Most companies would never outsource their sales reps, but we all know what happens with most tech support.
Most companies would never make a brochure with the same (lack of) quality in the product manual.
Most companies would never make their main website as uninviting as the tech support site.

Not all companies make their product difficult, but you should see the booklet that came with the Digital Cable remote. Mind numbing and confusing all wrapped up in one bland package.

Iraqis Cooperating With Troops, Tide is Turning

More Iraq good news via Gateway Pundit:

Haider Ajina comments:

Operation enforce the law is so far going better than expected and appears to continue this way. I spoke to my father in Baghdad, he said that the street is very impressed by the operation and receiving much cooperation from the people. They have done in four days what we thought would take them over a month.

Shiites love the Americans and want them stay to help the Iraqi security stand on its feet he said.

He also told me the street knows that Iran is no great friend of Iraq. Reading the PM, Al-Maliki, order the soldiers to respect the rights of the individual is still amazing to me. What large difference from just four short years ago!

I am not worried about my family from the security forces; I am only worried about them from the terrorists. Before we liberated Iraq the security forces were who worried me. This is the same sentiment my family has in Baghdad and Nejef. They now trust and look to the security forces for help. What a turn around, and all squarely due to our training of these new Iraqis and the Iraqi’s willingness to learn and serve.

There have been problems with some of the security personnel and most of those are being and have been addressed, as is evident from the PM’s directive of nondiscrimination and no favoritism. The support of the average citizen in Baghdad for this operation is nothing short of remarkable. Of course, this only comes if the citizens feel safe tipping off the Iraqi security forces. This also shows that the terrorists are loosing much of their support base in Iraq.
Haider Ajina
Old, boring cliché: Success breeds success.

(By the way, do you like the accent? I just FINALLY learned how to use them from my friend who knows some Spanish. I'm not very technologically advanced.)

Duke (non) Rape Case Not Over

Yes, this case drags on and on and on. How much time do the new prosecutors need to look at the evidence? It needs to be OVER. Every minute that passes means more anguish on the part of the real victims.

When it comes to justice, Mike Nifong wants it swift and fair, for him. Here's a money quote by him highlighted over at Liestoppers:

"I wish everyone would withhold judgment until they hear the evidence, as well as my response." Nifong 2/9/07
And he's not the only one who's feebly attempting to salvage himself, his reputation and his good name. That ship has sailed. Those silly Group of 88 just can't put a sock in it and do themselves in worse. KC Johnson, the tireless blogger, again illuminates their follies:
In their increasingly desperate attempt to redeem their reputations, the Group of 88 has succeeded only in digging themselves a bigger hole. The latest example came in an article published yesterday in Diverse, in which Group members rationalized their actions in a way that appeared detached from reality.

Can Lubiano seriously contend that in the two weeks before the ad’s appearance, black students were told to “shut up,” or that the most extreme critics of the team among African-American faculty members did not dominate campus discourse? I’m not sure which option is more frightening: that a tenured Duke professor would intentionally mislead a reporter; or that a tenured Duke professor would make a statement that appears to have no basis in reality.
Yes, she can contend that. Remember the Ninth Commandment? Sheesh, Charles, get with it:
Thou shalt lie, slander and obfuscate in order to serve the greater good. Most people don't know what is good for them and must be taught the "truth" even if lies must be told to do it.
And yes, political correctness is a mental illness when taken to it's logical conclusion, but to the minds of believers it is completely rational. KC Johnson also has more of the elitist rationalizations coming from Duke faculty members.

Lacrosse returns to Duke and a writer for ESPN mocks it as no big deal. I'm not sure if the writer ever was an athlete himself, but if he is any sort of competitor and hasn't spent his entire life as an observer rather than a participant, he'd show more sympathy I would think. Or do false accusations only matter when the accused is black? You know, this acknowledgment that the lacrosse players are innocent, but they are still white, privileged, thuggish jerks is maddening. Bomani Jones illustrates how massaging the facts can leave the perception that the lacrosse players got away with something and deserved the suspended season and everything else they all got. Liestoppers doesn't let him get away with it:
For the duration of the Hoax, it has been convenient for their detractors to use each and every instance of misbehavior by any one of the team to condemn the indicted players and to fuel the Hoax. Now that a bit of joy is shared by the team and their supporters, it appears that it becomes convenient for their detractors to separate the indicted and the not indicted. While now it may be helpful to those who desire to continue heaping hurt on the lacrosse team to separate them from the three primary victims of the Hoax, one thing hasn’t changed. Misrepresentation of petty misbehavior by some will continue to be used to smear them all.
Jones continues:

“While the cancellation of the season may have been premature, plenty came to light when they left the field. Too much to be ignored.

“The ad hoc committee commissioned by Duke president Richard Brodhead and Academic Council Chair Paul Haagen found that lacrosse players were involved in 36 separate disciplinary incidents in the last three academic years, including destruction of property on campus, public urination and numerous alcohol-related incidents.”

While the ad hoc committee that Jones refers to did find that the lacrosse team was involved in numerous alcohol related incidents (including the conveniently omitted suspicion of throwing water, playing of a drinking game, and multiple instances of making noise), they characterized such mischief as:

“… their conduct has not been different in character than the conduct of the typical Duke student who abuses alcohol. Their reported conduct has not involved fighting, sexual assault or harassment, or racist behavior. Moreover, even the people who have complained about their alcohol-related misconduct often add that the students are respectful…”

Further, the committee Jones selectively refers to in his attempt to paint the team as a collection of sinful thugs also found:
“The members of the Duke Lacrosse team have been academically and athletically responsible students. In general, faculty who have had lacrosse players in their classes have not experienced disciplinary problems with the players. Over the last five years, however, many lacrosse players increasingly have been socially irresponsible consumers of alcohol. Their extensive record of repetitive misconduct should have alarmed administrators responsible for student discipline.”

“By all accounts, the lacrosse players are a cohesive, hard working, disciplined, and respectful athletic team. Their behavior on trips is described as exemplary. Players clean the team bus before disembarking. Airline personnel have complimented them for their behavior. They observe curfews. They obey the team’s no alcohol rule before games.11 They are respectful of people who serve the team, including bus drivers, airline personnel, trainers, the equipment manager, the team manager, and the groundskeeper.”
“Finally, the lacrosse program has a 100% graduation rate. Alumni of the program apparently contribute to the community after college. We received letters of support for the team from two recently graduated former players who are presently serving in Iraq. A remarkable number of alumni are volunteer coaches for their local lacrosse teams. Many are employed in prestigious positions in business, law, and medicine. As evidenced by their support of the current team, alumni of the lacrosse program and their families are fiercely loyal to each other, to the lacrosse program, and to Duke.”
And, if Jones had ever been an athlete, he'd know that this sort of high-lighted behavior is typical of college--forget lacrosse. Ugh. Why would he want to still paint the lacrosse team in a bad light after all the group has gone through?

As usual, there is much more over at Johnson's site and Liestoppers. This travesty marches on and on and on. On a positive note, Mike Nifong has become the What's-Wrong-With-Certain-Prosecutors Mascot. "Nifonged" has become a verb. Maybe this case will help to stop miscarriages of justice in the future.

Walter Reed Information

For troops. Against rats. For balance. Against MSM. Dan Collins at Protein Wisdom has more.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Iraq: It's Personal

One of our patients has a son in Fallujah right now. Please pray not only for the soldiers, but the parents, too. The parents, wives, girlfriends, sacrifice so much.

For the record, this young man has the smarts and talents to be anything. He chose to serve. He is college educated. We are proud of him and grateful for his service.

He's not the only hero. There are thousands and each man and woman has a family, a friend, a loved one who misses them.

Blue Crab Boulevard has a son over there and has this on oil revenue sharing in Iraq.

And here are some letters from Iraq via Instapundit.

Living with snipers in Fallujah and Ramadi.

Week Two of the Surge in Iraq. Here's what's going on.

Mystery weapons are being found in Iraq.

StrategyPage has a story about how Arabic is finally! being learned by U.S. forces. I think the U.S. better have all sorts of language experts given the cozy relationships between Russia, Iran, China, and nefarious regimes everywhere. Good thing about Hugo Chavez: we've got Spanish speaking Americans out the wazzoo!

Mrs. Greyhawk has some great links about what's going on in Iraq today. This one, by a soldier in Fallujah is particularly good and with pictures, too.

And if you haven't been checking out Victory Caucus, you should be. I love this quote by Winston Churchill: An appeaser is someone who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. Those damned crocs, they just never get filled up.

Global Warming: "It's A Moral Issue"--UPDATED, More Updates Scroll Down

Update Note: This material is almost impossible to parody. There is no extreme too extreme when reading these philosophies.
Ah, it is so very loverly when leftist progressives speak in hushed passionate tones and wax religious about moral strictures meant for the little people. At the Academy Awards last night, I didn't have to worry about missing church, the whole evening was one long (boring) sermon. To give credit where credit is due: these people do know how to dress for Gaia. She must be so honored by their opulent devotion.

In case anyone has been confused by the secular humanist dogma, Evangelist Gore clarified, "Global Warming isn't a political issue. It's a moral one." Let me reiterate the commandments for you:

  1. Thou shalt not believe in God but shall believe in Gaia and have no other gods before Her. She is the Goddess who brought you from the earth.*
  2. Thou shalt worship Gaia in all her forms: Trees, animals, plants. Thou shalt be a vegetarian or better, a vegan, to prove thou devote thou's life to Gaia and shall recycle, reuse and renew and stop producing carbon (die) or else be smitten by Gaia's global warming and die anyway.
  3. Thou shalt not question Gaia's scientific dogma. Gaia will punish dissent and reward (with government money) adherents.
  4. Remember Earth Day and keep it holy. Every day is earth day
  5. Honor Al Gore and your betters, that your days may be long upon the land they allow you to till lest the collective seize what's yours for the greater good.
  6. Thou shalt not "murder" a mother's life by making her carry a fetus that proves inconvenient. Abortion is moral. Thou shalt abort every fetus that is imperfect to minimize Gaia's resources spent on genetically "unpreferred" life-forms unless the "unpreferred" is homosexual which is actually good for Gaia as less resources will be consumed because no progeny will result.
  7. Thou shalt engage in any kind of sexual relations, at any age, with any one as long as one uses the holy sacrament: the condom. All choices are absolved with condoms.
  8. Thou shalt steal from those who have more than you because it is not fair and shalt call it progressive taxation. Rich people are evil and must be stopped.
  9. Thou shalt lie, slander and obfuscate in order to serve the greater good. Most people don't know what is good for them and must be taught the "truth" even if lies must be told to do it.
  10. Thy neighbor's house is thine house, thy neighbor's wife and husband is thine, thy neighbor's anything-you-want is thine. No need to covet. Take what is thine and enjoy!
Please note that their are caveats, sub-rules, regulations and various legal minutiae that must be followed in order to please Gaia and her faithful overlords. It is nearly impossible to comply with all the rules, the rules change and the rules are completely at whim of said overlords. It is your job to comply anyway and please thine masters.

Subsections include but are not limited to:

There are more rules. The list is very, very long. But you get the idea. I'll add links to this later, but for now, bask in the glory that is Gaia.

Update II: More on Evangelist Gore's Gaia abuse and defense of said abuse. Gaia does like the bad boys. Captain Ed calls him the Goracle and says:

Okay, before we start really throwing the hypocrisy label at The Goracle of Global Warming, we should take care not to hit ourselves with it first. Most CQ readers are free-market thinkers. There's nothing wrong with Gore using that kind of energy if he's willing to pay for it. A mansion would use a lot more energy than a normal single-family dwelling; I'm sure that Bill Gates' electrical bills dwarf what Gore's paying for his Tennessee juice. My objection to his level of consumption would only be that he's driving prices up with his large demand.

That being said, the fact that his energy use increased so dramatically after the release of his documentary makes him look a little ridiculous. After all, he's on the road more now, and energy use should decrease, although his family may not travel with him much. Besides, as we saw at the Oscars last night, Gore wants the rest of us to downsize and conserve rather than just treat energy like any other market -- and Gore is obviously not doing that for himself.

Also, as Glenn Reynolds points out, you don't have to care about global warming to be against burning fossil fuels. Or from my perspective: you don't have to make environmentalism and global warming a religion to care for the environment. And just to be clear, I do care about the environment and want to have clean air, water, for all. I eat organic and try to consume less energy (though I do love my SUV). It's the celebrity pious holier-than-thouness while hardly practicing the religious tenets themselves, that irritates me.

Update III: The Anchoress gets in on the act and points out the person who IS friendly to the environment. You'll never guess, so I'll just tell you: President Bush. His ranch in Crawford is a model for all people. The Anchoress writes The Goracle's response:

There, you stupid right-wingers - Gore has bought his indulgences, so his soul is green and pristine and he will still go to ecology heaven. Whew. Thank goodness! Now the rest of you, just buy your indulgences and you can pollute all you want - it all evens out! Can’t you figure that out, yet? And that means, btw, that really is no emergency, after all. But there are good things you can and probably should do. And if you don’t start doing them soon…you’ll be made to.
She also says:

If the information on Gore’s usage is true, I take a page from others who say Gore can use all the energy he can afford to pay for. If it’s not, we’ll soon know (See Gore’s response in the Update). But my concern isn’t how much the fella uses; I don’t buy into the whole “sky is falling” narrative, so I don’t care…what I am more interested in is the enduring double-standard of the press and the left.

I think it’s an amusing double-standard. Gore gasses away about the environment while he and his friends use private jets to go from huge, air-conditioned home to home, and he is heaped with accolades and good press, while Bush says little about the environment but lives the green-creed in Midland and gets only negative press. On every issue.

Amen, Sister Anchoress and we don't even go to church together. Ha!

Update IV: And don't forget, this isn't about money, it's about Gaia! USA Today headline blares Scientists to UN: "Tens of Billions" Needed to Combat Global Warming!!

Update V: There are even heretics to the Global Warming Gaia Religion.

Polls So Very Droll

If you believe the press and polls, everyone, including Republicans now, hate George W. Bush. To me, that conventional wisdom seemed unwise. If people like me backed Bush, but felt he wasn't pushing hard enough, aggressively enough and were asked poorly worded questions--either too broad or too narrow to really be accurate then the President's ratings could very well be in the tank, but it didn't explain the stubborn resistance of most Americans to defunding the war in Iraq. How can people hate the Commander in Chief and simultaneously want his command funded?

Given that context, this news makes sense:

The poll also shows that rank-and-file Republicans have higher regard for the president than they do Republicans in Congress. They gave GOP lawmakers a 63% job-approval rating, 13 points below Bush's. And 72% of Republicans do not think Bush made a mistake sending U.S. troops to Iraq.

So if congressional Republicans figure the key to re-election in 2008 is taking a hard line against Bush on Iraq, they could be dead wrong. They might lure some independents, but they risk alienating their GOP base. To win, you need solid support from your base plus independents, not independents alone.
Additionally, I've noted before the silly framing of the Republican candidates as "weak" while the Democrats are ripe with fruity choices. Well, they are and they aren't. The Democrats have as many or more problems with the election as the front-running Republicans right now, but don't tell the media that. Newsbusters Warren Todd Huston point's to the Boston Globe's Robert Kuttner's love (or is it lust) proclaimed for all things Democrat:

Kuttner... again in his show of non-love... then ridiculously equates Obama as someone on the level of a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Vaclav Havel. And, reaching for the height of absurdity, he then imagines Obama to be just like Thomas Jefferson. Yet, any perusal of these three men’s lives would show far more accomplishment, that they are men of far more consequence than Obama’s life has yet revealed. Obama appears as but a mere dabbler in achievement compared to Kuttner’s three men of history.

No, Kuttner hasn't fallen in love with Obama at all. You can REALLY tell that!

The syrup virtually drips from his pen.

Finally, Kuttner ends his piece with this laugher:

I could be wrong, of course. John Edwards, with his authentic populism, would also make a formidable nominee. Clinton, despite her flaws, has always done better than her detractors predict.

“Authentic populism”? John Edwards!? The man who owns HOW many palatial homes is an example of “authentic populism”?

In the same Boston Globe piece, the Republican candidates get savaged. Of course, they do! Just like everyone, EVERYONE, hates the President, the hopes for the next Presidential election are lost, LOST, I tell you!

The press believes that if they keep telling a big enough lie long enough, everyone will believe them. On Iraq, it seems that their drumbeats of doom have worked. But that is only because Americans hate the ambivalence of a war like this. With the Presidential election, two years out even, the press may be mis-playing their hand. It's a long time before people vote and you know that short attention span the press counts on when it comes to the dull-witted masses? Well, that sword cuts both ways.

Not that the press could lose much more credibility, but don't they realize that this agenda pushing is obvious? Ditto, Hollywood.

Housing Crunch Hurts the Poor

I don't know much about economics, but this post from Maxed Out Mama makes a lot of sense. It's disturbing. She talks about an average American trying to build a life when the housing market is so devaluing on the backs of bank malfeasance:

He's not in trouble on paying the loan - it's just that it's not worth it to him, because the more he pays down the more the house drops in value, and he can't save otherwise because he's using all his spare cash to pay the mortgage. The neighborhood is unlikely to get better and provide a safe environment for his family. The entire housing bubble was created by the idea that paying a high percentage of your income for a home would create a financial cushion for your future.

This is how the little guys get hurt. His income is probably around $50,000, and even though he's reaching the point where his principal paydown rate is rising, on that income he really can't save AND pay an amortized mortgage of around $207,000 originally. There is a reason for the old ratios - violating them causes insecurity and financial instability. His PITI to Gross Monthly Income ratio is about at 35-36%, when it should be no higher than 30%. So he's locked into working 50-60 hours a week, not getting ahead in any way, and feeling extremely financially insecure - and he is. He's been in the house for 4-1/2 years, and by now by all usual economic rules his payments in comparison to his earned income should have have dropped enough to provide him some margin even if the house value didn't increase - but that hasn't happened either.

Go read it all. She ends with this:
When people such as these cannot prosper, in the end the nation cannot prosper. Jeremiah:
Like cages full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
they have become rich and powerful

28 and have grown fat and sleek.
Their evil deeds have no limit;
they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it,
they do not defend the rights of the poor.

All Over Rover: From Academy Awards to the Academy

LaShawn Barber talks about parental primacy when it comes to educating our children who believe it's not "cool to be smart". I'd like to point out that it isn't just in the black community that this phenomenon inhibits potential. Great, positive story!

Go check out the world's oldest blogger: Olive Riley. Amazing! Thanks to beloved liberal reader Khelly for the link.

Jeff Goldstein writes about internet anonymity. Evidently, a community college professor was outed. When is it fair to blow a blogger's cover? I think I agree with him. He speaks of cyberterrorism:

To extend the cyberterrorist analogy a bit further: if you don’t want to sign onto the Geneva Convention or follow its dictates? Then I don’t feel any obligation to recognize the protections you claim it provides when it suits your needs to. Which is not to say that I won’t do so. Just that I am not required, by any moral calculus, to do so—and so you violate the terms of the framework at your own risk.
The internet shouldn't be a more dangerous place to do business than the real world, but anonymity makes for wildness. Like the old west, I believe that many of the most interesting and challenging intellectual endeavors and opportunity are happening on the internet. The egalitarian nature and the ability to communicate with experts and to receive their opinions is exciting. But there is also a barbaric quality to some internet bloggers and posters where crass, base discourse gets mistaken for cunning, bold argument. It is neither. I do believe time will temper some of the more uncivil tongues. At least I hope it will. The internet isn't a mindless connection of bits and bytes. There are people on the other end. I wish everyone could remember this.

Betsy likes the movie Amazing Grace for what it teaches about politics and slavery.

Speaking of movies......... And for an Oscar result that surprises absolutely no one, An Inconvenient Truth wins for Best Documentary. I would be surprised with any other result. Happily, though, Martin Scorsese
finally wins an Oscar. He's certainly deserving. And didn't Helen Mirren look absolutely gorgeous? She is the very definition of aging gracefully. I wish J-Lo and Nicole Kidman would take a hint. A taut face looks weird. It will look weirder as the women get older. Doesn't anyone want to express their emotions anymore? It seems that expression would be a job requirement for actors, but whatever. And one more note: Jack Nicholson looks perpetually like the child with his hand in the cookie jar. We should all enjoy our career so much. He seems so ebullient and like he's keeping a secret. His lack of affectation and and sweet enthusiasm makes for fun watching. I do like him with some hair though. Gah!

Wishing you a great week!

Sunday, February 25, 2007


The flu and good blogging are mutually exclusive, I've come to believe. For the last month, what I thought was some weird virus--cyclical fever, aches and pains, headache, and personality changes that include grumpiness, whining and general malcontent--turned out to be the flu.

It all makes sense now. My husband and then each successive kid got sick every seven days. But I was deceived by the common cold at the beginning of the cycle. So my one son, who I had thought started this is just now getting the flu. Nice.

Before yesterday, I had been out of the house for a total of two and 1/2 hours over three weeks. Thankfully, the sun started to shine last week and I could air out the house.

Anyway, I've had more spelling errors, typos, problems with tenses, it's kinda embarrassing. I need an editor. As an explanation, you should know that I haven't blogged without a child either literally on me or "on me" for the past month. It won't change in the next week or two since the flu has one more kid to go through.

Why can't everyone get the flu all at the same time? Why msut ti eb tht evry kd gets' it one aftre anothre?

Mistery four teh ages'.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Abortion & Presidential Candidates

In a perfect world, every baby conceived would have his or her right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness honored. In a perfect world....

In the real world, a bad Supreme Court decision finds imaginary rights and prevents the states the freedom to make law. Roe and abortion hang like guillotines over the necks of Republican candidates. Mitt Romney, I think, will lose his political head about this issue. His sudden pro-Life flip is politically expedient and unprincipled. Maybe conservatives will give him a pass for this. Somehow, I doubt it.

Rudy Guiliani has taken a different tack. This one elucidated by Rand Simberg:

"I have stated a personal belief in a woman's right to choose. But I also have a strong belief in judges who follow the Constitution. I admire George Bush's choice of Supreme Court judges--Roberts and Alito. I wish that I'd made them myself, and I hope to have an opportunity to make similar, and (if that's possible) even better ones, who will interpret the Constitution in the manner intended, and not make new law out of old parchment, no matter how worthy the goal. While I personally favor a woman's right to choose, I think that Roe v. Wade was a mistake, and that this should be a matter for the states to determine. You can be sure that, if elected, this will be the criterion that I use to select judicial nominees, rather than a desire for a particular outcome that I happen to personally favor."
This is an intellectually honest position. It gives power to the people, where the power belongs. I think people, even conservatives will buy it. Do you?

I would vote for Rudy and his abortion position as stated above.
Yes, I am a conservative
Yes, I am a libertarian
Yes, I am a democrat
No, I am conservative
No, I am a libertarian
No, I am a democrat free polls

Mysterious Car Crash in Iran

Gateway Pundit has more.

Democrat Plan for Iraq: Put Soldiers, I mean, Republicans in Jeopardy

Betsy should be a Republican strategist, she knows her some Democrats. She says:

And Rahm Emanuel is quite public about how it's all about political calculation to him.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) pointed out that Democrats still have public opinion strongly on their side and that a vote on any plan would place Republicans in more jeopardy than Democrats.
Remember that statement when you listen to the Democratic congressmen debating what to do in Iraq. They want to "place Republicans in more jeopardy than Democrats." Putting our troops in jeopardy is not the issue for them. Republicans are.
In the cacophony that is the media these days, does any message rise above the din? It is definitely the message I hear coming from Democrat corners, but those who hear it from the mushy middle and loony left seem to hear a lovely life-saving message. Saving soldiers remains their ostensible goal. Saving Democrats doesn't seem to make headlines.

PTA Power

It must be school week, here at Dr. Clouthier. The New York Times on powerful PTAs:

In suburbs like Livingston, the ranks of parent groups now include lawyers, bankers, marketing executives and other professionals who tote laptops and briefcases to monthly school meetings — where refreshments are catered rather than homemade. They have raised tens of thousands of dollars for extras like new playgrounds and writing workshops amid budget cutbacks, and have taken over administrative functions that principals no longer have the time or inclination to do, like screening acts for school assemblies or signing contracts with instructors for after-school programs.
I think parent involvement is a good thing. Our school got a new play set and some covers outside which were desperately needed to shade from the Houston heat. The local PTO is indeed run by an executive. He treats it as such and seems to be a very nice, innovative guy.

Even still, I'm not involved with the PTA. I don't have the time or inclination. My kids are in after-school sports, piano, dance and drama. I spend hours weekly working with my autistic son, getting him caught up. Meanwhile, a two year old runs around dismantling the house. More power to the power PTA-ers.

Teacher, What's A Scrotum?

Controversy swirls around this year's Newbery Award winning book which has this passage:

"The Higher Power of Lucky" is the story of a 10-year-old girl in rural California and her quest for "Higher Power." The opening chapter includes a passage about a man "who had drunk half a gallon of rum listening to Johnny Cash all morning in his parked '62 Cadillac, then fallen out of the car when he saw a rattlesnake on the passenger seat biting his dog, Roy, on the scrotum."
The scrotum is what you don't see in this picture. It is that chicken-like sac surrounding the testicular-epidydimal complex. It's not pretty and its aesthetic shortcomings are exploited by pubescent boys everywhere. Girls generally ignore the scrotum.

Scrotum-awareness doesn't dawn until boys start noticing their pubic hairs sprouting down south--I'm guessing at this developmental milestone as none of my children have reached it. Now, every literate fourth-grader in America will wonder, "What's a scrotum?" And how will a teacher answer her curious charge? And will she enjoy all the scrotum talk that is sure to follow the answer to the question? Ah, yes, third grade teachers will love anatomical discussions about testicles, penises (they are in the vicinity after all) and scroti.

Here's my question: Can you imagine JRR Tolkien or Mark Twain writing about a scrotum?

Please. My biggest concern for my children isn't alcohol and it isn't the scrotum. I can explain both. (Though, should I have to explain a scrotum to my seven year old who is reading chapter books? Nancy Drew and other adventures manage to be less banal than this.) My biggest concern is that the literary level of books has diminished to an almost ridiculous point. One book given to my kids is written using quasi-ebonics. The lazy language and lack of denouement to the story just grates on me. It's not good writing. The illustrations are cute, so I kept it.

At home, I'm encouraging my children to read challenging and fun books. I don't mind more adult stories--the classics can be read on many levels. I mind average writing passed off for something great because it's controversial and makes nerdy librarians feel dangerous. Mark Twain pushed the envelope. JRR Tolkien pushed the envelope. Neither had to condescend to children to do it.

Here's a source of children's books by a former librarian--Glenn Reynold's mom. She also positively reviews the book here. Still, I wonder if she would be happy to answer a ten year olds questions about a scrotum.

Via reader Matt

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Taliban Recruits

LGF has a must-see video. Young teen suicide bomber weened on hate and death interviewed.

Revisiting Little Miss Sunshine

Ace, who obviously doesn't read this cutting-edge blog, talked about the boring Indy movie tripe that passes for sophisticated, smarter, funnier-than-thou fare put forth by boring supposedly sophisticated, definitely dumber, and sometimes mildly amusing artistes. He says:

Maybe that's what grates -- that it's comedy for those who look down scornfully on actual comedy, and what annoys me is the posturing as being above comedy grunts while, in fact, delivering fewer, and shallower, laughs than "regular" comics.

As Cartman observed, there's really no point in watching any indie movie, because they're all about "gay cowboys eating pudding." And they really all are. Quirky people acting kookie. Pretty much says it all.

The amateur leftist webzine Slate wonders why there's so much backlash against Little Miss Sunshine, and focuses on the public's -- even the indie-lovin', art-house-supportin' public's -- growing tedium with the increasingly formulaic and predictable variations of quirkiness. The article as a whole defends indie-quirk, and wonders where the hate is coming from.

He's responding to this hit on indie-quirk by Time's Richard Corliss:

The kind of indie film nurtured by Sundance has become the dominant non-Hollywood movie form for smart people. They're the ones who made Little Miss Sunshine a hit, and Ryan Gosling's turn in Half Nelson a must-see. The moguls have taken note too. In terms of product and talent, Sundance has become the crucial farm system for the major studios.
Ace then talks about "road trips" and I snickered. Ah, the car memories.... Sideways (good movie, best full frontal, car), Thelma and Louise (average movie, nice Brad abs and undies, car), Road Trip (hilarious movie, lots of boobies, big underwear, car), The World's Fastest Indian (good movie, prostate problem, surprise old people sex, oops! motorcycle). Big Hollywood, Little Hollywood...what's the difference? They're all a bunch of pretentious snobs. Some are just bigger, big pretenders.

This is what I said originally about Little Miss Sunshine that beloved little Hollywood gem:
Change the subject of the movies. Good grief! Can't we even have a kid's penguin movie without Hollywood moralizing? They talk about the Religious Right's strident dogma, Hollywood mass produces their feel-good/cynical/anti-American pap and are surprised no one is buying. Nearly every movie is like a bad Steven Seagal film now. For example? I watched the Little Miss Sunshine movie--a supposedly feel-good American family movie. But.... the parents were fighting non-stop, the grandpa was a swearing drug-addict, the kid took a vow of silence and the Little Miss Sunshine did a stripper routine in front of a pedophile. All-American family, indeed. I don't know one family like that. To me, the movie just spoke of more contempt for the American family. The fact that Hollywood can't see this demonstrates their own bias. Personally, when I see movies like Little Miss Sunshine, it makes me think that the writers and actors and producers are so happy to be out of the little, psycho "hell-hole" they grew up in where they were an outcast because they were weird. Their disgust and anger comes through in their product loud and clear. Just 'cause you couldn't make it in the small-time, Hollywood, doesn't mean you have to be a hater when you make the big-time. (As an aside, the acting was incredible in this movie. Greg Kinnear should have gotten an Academy Award for As Good As It Gets. He is consistently great. Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Steve Catrell and the kids made for perhaps the greatest ensemble movie last year, acting-wise. There were moments of incredible poignancy but the overall message was Americans are messed up, dude.)
Hollywood wearies me. Preach. Preach. Preach. Chide. Chide. Chide. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! I've got one mother nagging me. I don't need to pay, a lot, for another one.

So, to answer the question "Is Indy formulaic?" The answer is "Yes". Is it wrong? As wrong as Hollywood, which is to say, predictably wrong.

P.S. If it sounds like I'm overly hard on pretentious Hollywood, please know I'm a big fan of pretentious musicians with vacuous politics. What can I say? I'm not pure in thought. Still, I dislike the Dixie Chicks and this gives me an opportunity to tell the music industry that they are as cliquish and silly as Hollywood when it comes to honoring marginal musicians with lock-step politics. How daring! Way to stick to the man!

Such Nice Little Terrorists

Using chemicals in addition to the regular destructive methods*:

The insurgents’ recent use of chlorine gas in bombings appeared to be a new attempt to heighten fears among Iraqi citizens, he said on CNN.

“What we are seeing is a change in tactics, but the strategy has not changed,” General Caldwell said, adding that the recent bombings were a “crude attempt to raise the terror level by taking and mixing ordinary chemicals with explosive devices and instilling that fear within the Iraqi people.”

Women To Make Equal Money At Wimbledon

I read the whole New York Time's article to try to find who makes more money for Wimbledon--men or women. Couldn't find it.

To me, it's not a matter of gender equality, it's a matter of market equality. If women have more fans, scores more ad revenue, they should get paid more and vice versa. If the seats are sold out for the same price whether a man or a woman is playing, why would one gender make more?

I did find this at Economist's View:

What is the product here? They are selling entertainment and compensation to inputs is based upon the added entertainment value provided by men and women players. It doesn't matter if people come to the stadium or tune in on TV to watch tennis or a swim suit model, all that matters is that they watch. The argument that tournament sponsors can sell less adds during women's matches stated above is relevant as that affects revenue, but if the ads are more valuable because of higher viewership, its not necessarily the case that compensation should fall. It's interesting that when confronted with higher viewership for women's matches, the writer argues that men should be paid more because "There was a time, and it will come again, when the male players are the bigger television draw."

The idea of men getting paid more because their matches are longer is ridiculous. Five minutes of Michael Jordan is worth more than five hours of Steve Alford.

If you find any info about the nuts and bolts of tennis economics, let me know.

Can You Say Grade Inflation?

America is Lake Woebegone. Suddenly, American students aren't average--they are above average according to grades. Strangely, they're below average according to standardized test scores.

There are a couple causes of this:

  1. Nobody is getting smarter. Kids never were getting smarter.
  2. To get into college grades are important. Kids are taking tough classes (maybe) but grades are getting pushed up so they can get into college.

MacBook Rumors

A rumored 15.4 inch MacBook is coming out says Gizmodo. Me? I want a little, light MacBook to carry around with me--maybe a fold-out keyboard. Just small, but full-screened. Some of the nerds said a 12". Sounds good to me.

I think I'll wait.

Home Schooling Socialization

One of my concerns about home schooling, besides the fact that I'd be the teacher, is that my kids wouldn't get the variety of subjects--art, music, sports, and other group-oriented activities. I don't worry about the vague "socialization" issue. First, that assumes that school kids are social. Most I see are asocial. But I must say, some of the kids who come out of home schooling are socially strange. And I wonder about their confidence level in a competitive environment when they've never been around people to compete against.

Kim Du Toit says:

6. We wanted to control the content of what they read, or saw on TV or on the Internet. This was especially true during the pre- and early-teen years, so that we could teach them right from wrong.

Yeah, there’s a lot of control in all the above. That used to be called “parenting”, and we’re not ashamed of it. Kids are not adults: they need guidance, rules and regulation, and just as importantly, they need to know why the rules and regulations exist.

So if at some point in the future they screw up, or make mistakes, at least they’ll make them knowing that the responsibility was entirely their own, and that ignorance was not a factor.

Well, I'm not sure as a parent I'll feel less responsible for my kid's outcome because he's a public-school product. I just keep coming back to that vague weirdness thing. Maybe what is weird is unadulterated sweetness that never got beat out of them.

Via Dr. Helen

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Customer Service

Seth Godin takes on the beast that is Customer Service. He believes that the problem is essentially that technology makes customers believe instant gratification is always possible. Here is a start of his solutions:

Given the choice between amazing, guaranteed service with a one day wait or interminable waits on hold with people who can't really help you right now... well, the choice is pretty easy.

Imagine what happens when we take advantage of the asynchronous nature of this sort of support.

There's still a cadre of people answering the phone, but they are trained to do exactly two things. 1. Make it really clear to the caller that there is a problem, that the caller deserves great service and that things will be dealt with, and 2. Get every single relevant piece of information.

This isn't hard to train for. But yes, it needs and deserves training.

Here are my recommendations:
  1. Technology should be used to connect people to a product, not distance them from a product. For example, when I call the phone company, does anyone find it ironic that I'm given a complicated menu ten miles deep? There is a VERY good chance that the reason I'm calling the phone company is because my phone isn't working, in which case, getting a person on the phone from my inconvenient phone would be helpful as soon as possible. Answer the blankety-blank phone! Phone companies should have the BEST, most spectacular phone service. Now, perhaps a rep answers the phone, realizes that one needs their latest bill and with two seconds connects the person to his automated bill amount.
  2. Take lessons from direct marketing companies. They do an amazing job at getting answers to those who re-sell for them. My husband worked in a call-center for Amway (when it was Amway) and the people in that department had elevated status. If you wanted to move up in the company, you had to do that job and do it well. It required knowing the products and keeping the callers very satisfied and doing it quickly. They also divided the call center into regions, but other companies could do it other ways. For example, say someone calls and they bought their product on-line or at a store or from a state, the customers could be divided this way. And back to the technology thing, what about tracking how much product a person buys? For example, in the last year, I've made significant Apple purchases--I hope they know it when I call for help and not act bitchy when I have a question.
  3. Let people pay extra for extra service. You know what? I bought the extra service with Apple. It's great. I get more training. I get priority service. I get help whenever I need it. The training helped me connect to their products better. Airlines have a terrible reputation, right? What if Continental let fliers pay $99 to receive priority service? I bet there is a cut-off where people would pay a lot of money for first choice in seating, better food, better perks. I bet the airlines could make money upping customer service. And this could hold for other things, too--especially technology. For example, I've been needing a router for my computer system. It's daunting because it means switching up lots of stuff, of so I believe. I would pay $25 or $50 or $75 to have an appointment with someone to walk me through installation over the phone. That's right, instead of the defensive, "YOUR PRODUCT SUCKS!!!" It would be a proactive situation where I could feel great about the product and the company would make money and be saved a nastygram customer-service-wise.
  4. Prioritize customer service. Companies pay lip service to service. I called Time Warner the other day and the woman who answered the phone was laughing hysterically at some co-worker joke. Guess how that affected my attitude talking to her? Not. Good. And then she was barely articulate which irritated me further. I'd be quicker to blame the customer if the companies actually seemed to give a rats ass. I think on a theoretical level customer service is important, on a practical level, customers are ignored until they threaten legal action or are screaming. A friend had to do both (scream and threaten legal action) when the local energy company cut the ground line to her house and all her appliances got friend over and over and over. The amount of juice flowing through her house could have started the house on fire and they gave her the runaround for over a month. Her electrician was badly electrocuted, but imagine if her child had been? Imagine a fire? Imagine a gazillion dollar law suit for cruel indifference. Why must one scream to be respected? Godin's recommendation at tracking software is very good.

Where technology might be the problem, it is also the solution. I just feel that right now, technology is used to minimize human contact in the wrong way. There are ways to create happier customers. It is a problem that needs to be solved.

Iraq Hope

Iraq the Model says:

Although soldiers and policemen are filling the streets, the terrorists are too coward to face the troops and choose to massacre unarmed civilians instead. What are they trying to prove with these cowardly acts? They can’t defeat the troops, so they attack civilians to discredit the security plan. But I don’t think such attacks can change the course of events on the long term; the Baghdad plan is a strategic effort that will go on for months, and time doesn’t seem to be on the terrorists’ side right now.
Shhhh! Don't tell the Democrats! What is hope when "slow bleeds" make the headlines?

Socks Berger

Blue Crab Boulevard: Tell me again why Sandy "Socks" Berger isn't in jail?

Can you imagine a Republican getting caught with classified documents in his pants? The Dems are insane about "mis-remembering". Imagine an actual crime! In the Democrat's world, though, I think it just confers on Berger street cred.

Is Berger a spy? What would happen if he wasn't actually covering Clinton's bare behind? What if it was even more nefarious than that nasty task. P.U.

Spanking School Children

A big stink in Texas right now is banning the right of teachers and other officials to spank kids.

In first grade, kids spoke conspiratorially about the principal's paddle with holes in it to make it hurt worse! I never saw the paddle. I never heard of anyone on the receiving end of the paddle. But the paddle was a legend.

Of course, when I was growing up most of the kids in the neighborhood got spanked. The poor guy across the street disobeyed his dad. Ooooo, the neighborhood kids had smarting hind-ends in sympathy of his plight. Plus, he had to ride the bus for the rest of the school year--a total humiliation for a 16 year old.

We had this discussion at our house the other day with the neighbor girls. "V. gets spanked all the time. She is very bad." Her sister reported this and said her mom uses a belt. I laughed. V. is indeed a stinker and a rather spoiled youngest of five. The spankings probably do her good. I'm not sure how she'd be without them.

But to let the teachers or principals spank? I'm not so sure.... More on this later.

Muslim Mother and Three Daughters Burned to Death for Being "Too Western"

Where are the moderate Muslims on this?

American Idol Guy Edition

Having never committed to a reality show, I decided to start watching American Idol this season. Why not see what all the fuss is about?

Far from being the mean madman I hear so much about, Simon seemed to be the only one with a lick of sense last night. He is no harsher than some of my music teachers. And for those who have been in music at all (and some of these people obviously haven't) it can be completely brutal. In fact, why anyone wouldn't take what Simon says (ha!) seriously is the marvel to me. He has a gift finding talent and he doesn't condescend to the singers or the audience.

Paula Abdul is taking muscle relaxants and pain killers. I have not examined her in person, but good grief, the woman is a slurring mess. I chuckled when Simon said, like three times, "I think what Paula is trying to say is...." I took his intervention as kindness. She being doped and stupid, took it as him trying to be superior.

Ryan Secrest must be pounded like the bug he is.

The guys? The show was Too Dang Long! Two hours for twelve guys singing for 18 minutes? Ugh. They were nervous wrecks and hardly a one of them could carry a tune. And their song selection? Snooze.

John Edwards Is More Than A Pretty Face

He can solve the world's security problems, too! Answer the poll honestly. And guess what Edward's answer to the same question. Okay, three guesses and the first two don't count.*

The world's biggest threat to security is:
Al Qaeda
United States
Western Europe
Venezuala free polls

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Smart Women Rejoice!

A very nice myth-busting article about women, marriage, education, and child-bearing here:

In fact, educated women nationwide now have a better chance of marrying, especially at an older age, than other women. In a historic reversal of past trends - one that is good news for young girls who like to use big words - college graduates and high-earning women are now more likely to marry than women with less education and lower earnings, although they are older when they do so. Even women with PhDs no longer face a "success penalty" in their nuptial prospects. It might feel that way in their 20s, when women with advanced degrees marry at a lower rate than other women the same age. But by their 30s, women with advanced degrees catch up, marrying at a higher rate than their same-aged counterparts with less education.
Better sex, less divorce, happier marriages, more money, more egalitarian with chores and child-care.

You know, one thing that isn't talked about too much is that men get the joys of connectedness with their children that used to be exclusively the mother's domain. And that was a shame. It's better for kids to have close ties with both parents. I do think this has been aided by work-from-home and contract work situations.

By more cross-pollinating of roles, empathy increases, too. Marriage partners have a much better understanding of the stresses the other deals with now. So for right now, I'm taking on the role, (even though equally educated) of primarily parenting and keeping the house running (my husband doesn't have breasts to nurse with....a biological issue), but I also understand, in a way my mom didn't, the stresses he faces at work. We talk about cases. He's not "alone" emotionally with work stresses. Likewise, he's far more involved with the kids and housework and knows that I am sacrificing my career to be home with them and doing a lot of work that I'm not very good at, by the way. (I do not feel bad about this or regret this one bit. I feel blessed to have this choice.) And, I do work part-time with clients doing coaching and some chiropractic and working with businesses. It's fun. I can define my terms, make my schedule and not sweat it when everyone has the flu cycle through for a month.

H/T Ann Althouse

Health Literacy

The WaPo is calling it "the silent epidemic". More on the problems with lack of health literacy. Most paperwork is written for those with a college education. Most Americans read at ant 8th grade level. There is no good reason for doctor's paperwork to be so damn complicated. And stupid attempts to ensure patient privacy result in problems like this.

One of these days, the unwashed masses (from the medical profession's snobby perspective) will band together and file a humongous class-action suit against the whole profession because they were never truly informed--at least not in a way they could understand--and deaths and other terrible consequences resulted. The medical profession will be deprived of lots of money and they will deserve it.

(As an aside, while people know and have known the health risks of tobacco, they've received massive awards--although one today was knocked down. Trial attorneys should look at the medical profession as a whole. Every year, more than 100,000 people die from doctor's mistakes. How many of those were because patients were misinformed or not informed at all. Can you imagine any other industry being allowed that track record?)

Preemies & Autism Controversies

What do you think of research that identifies "autism genes?" H/T Jeff Goldstein

What do you think of technology keeping babies like these alive?

Forgot to link to this.

Monday, February 19, 2007

At Least You Have Your Sense of Humor

Find "X".

Man, I needed to laugh today.

Fur Children--UPDATE

UPDATE: Quick note--the picture was taken on my Sony Digital at the Houston Zoo and through a window. When my kids act like beasts, I remind them of the Orangutan mama and say something to the effect, "You know, she seemed like a really nice Mama. I'm sure she'd take good care of you." To which they cry, "No, no! Mama! We don't want to live at the Zoo!" See, you can't do that with Fur Children.

I've talked about "breeders" before--that lovely name given to women who have children and "waste" their potential. Well a new term describes those who have forgone human breeding to raise "alternative children": Fur Children.

What are fur children? Well, here's some and here's some more. And here is some estate planning for your fur children.

In lieu of human children, how about Fur Children? You know, like Oprah!

Oprah and Stedman have a deep, dark family secret: They have a daughter! She has "issues" and Oprah thinks it's her fault. Only one man can help!
Ed Driscoll titles his post about this issue "And Thus, Mark Steyn's Next Column Writes Itself" and says:
In the Bay Area, I remember hearing the phrase "fur children" to describe pets as far back as 2000--or maybe even the late 1990s. And it's not at all a coincidence that while the number of "fur children" in the area may be rising, in 2005, AP wrote that "San Francisco has the smallest share of [human] small-fry of any major U.S. city", adding, "Just 14.5 percent of the city's population is 18 and under."
Glenn Reynolds is uncomfortable with the term "Fur Children":
Great science fiction plot: Hostile aliens infect humanity with a virus that causes us to lavish parental attention on animals instead of human offspring, as a means of extinguishing the human race without a messy invasion. But it's just a science fiction plot. Isn't it?

UPDATE: Stephen Carter emails:

I spotted your item today about "fur children". In P. D. James's novel The Children of Men, set in a world in which no children can be born, there are two scenes involving women caring for pets as if they were babies -- not only walking them in strollers, but actually having them baptized -- and the narrator tells us that this is common behavior. I suppose the symbolism (to say nothing of the psychology) was too complex to risk trying to put this in the film.

What's funny is that behavior intended to symbolize an apocalyptic state has now become semi-normal.

Does anyone see the irony of people intent on leaving huge legacies to the world, but they literally have no progeny to continue them? I've always thought that was one of the great things about having children: they are a form of immortality. Plus, you don't have to be rich to have them or a legacy.

And, having dearly loved my pets, I can assure you that my perspective dramatically changed once I had a child. How silly to even give a pet the appellation "child". They are no such thing and it demeans human children to approach animals that way. More monkeying with the language, but also an indication of a child's status in this society.