Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh, And...

I hope and pray for all of us that 2009 will be a happier new year.

Have fun tonight. Don't drink and drive.

And remember, tomorrow is another day, month, and year.

2008 In Review

This is my husband's Year In Review.

Even if I weren't his wife, I would agree with him.

To quote his ending, "2008, you were a rotten year. No-one likes you. Go away!"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Faith Has Many Rewards

According to this study, being religious helps you control your impulses and lead a happier better life.

Why isn't this surprising to those of us with faith?

How Your Family Affects Your Brain

Finally, a scientific study that explains family relationships via your brain.

In short, there is a reason why they make you crazy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Foreigner Predictions

I love it when foreign experts expound about the United States. My beloved husband didn't "get" American federalism for the first 3 years he lived here while working in DC (he gets it now).

So when I hear this Russian professor predicting the demise of the USA in 2010, I actually just have to smile. Seems more like a wishful thinking than actual understanding.

Congratulations

Bristol Palin has given birth to a healthy baby boy.

Congratulations to the new parents and new grandparents.

All my best wishes for a happy, healthy, productive and long life.

A new baby is always a joy.

From the good folks at Samizdata

A stirring defense of Freedom of Speech (especially on the internet) by the good folks at samizdata.net.

Thank you Perry de Havilland

Political Correctness Vs. Freedom Of Thought

The Keith John Sampson Story

A video from Founding Bloggers which looks like a great site.

Watch the video, it is well worth knowing how important the fight against PCBS is!

And just remember this, if someone is attempting to control your speech, they are attempting to control your thinking.

While you are at it, visit FIRE, the good folks who fought for Keith John Sampson's liberty and won.

The False Collectivism of Liberal Progressives

Collectivism is a principle foundation of all left-wing ideologies. The Utopian idea that if we all agreed and worked toward a common goal we'd make a worker's paradise.

Or some such nonsense.

The point is that collectivism within the progressive framework is a red herring. It's a false ideal used to bludgeon folks into submission via groupthink, ideology, and indoctrination.

A good example of what I mean comes from my current reading - a book called The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes. This book is a deeply interesting review of the Great Depression and what people were actually thinking AT THE TIME. Not what people decided to think after events unfolded.

What do I mean? Well, like Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism", Shlaes references the publications, newspaper articles, and government policies during the Great Depression as they were published so that you can easily see what the players were thinking then. You read about the events as they happened with citations, not an overview that interprets happened.

I found this moment illuminating. It deals with a gent called R. C. Tugwell, an economist with strong collectivist leanings (he went with others to the USSR to meet with Stalin). He and some like-minded economists published a college textbook on Economics with pictures and captions to illustrate their points.

One picture was of a skyscraper and the caption that states, "Collective effort built this; the inference is inescapable; but we sometimes attempt to avoid the logical further inference that more collective effort is needed. Sometimes we say that what we need is more individual enterprise. No individual ever built a skyscraper."

What a load of horsehooey!

If no individual ever built a skyscraper, then no collective ever built one either. There is ALWAYS a leader, a decision maker, a financier, an architect. Always.

Whether in a capitalist society or a collectivist society, someone has to make decisions and be responsible for them. The only difference is that in a capitalist society, the decision maker can also profit financially from the risks he or she takes, while in a collectivist society the decision maker will only be punished for failure and gain nothing from success.

No "individual enterprise" succeeds without workers but no random group of workers can succeed without an individual leader.

There is an "I" in TEAM. It's the "I" of Coach and the "I" of Team Captain. To claim otherwise is ignorance beyond bliss and well into oblivion.

And that is the big lie about liberalism, progressivism, and/or collectivism. It's never just a bunch of workers united. There is always a decider, a leader, a decision maker who emerges and leads. And he builds his leadership into power by convincing others they will make out better with him or her than with anyone else, by building a groupthink that supports him without question - often in fear.

Capitalism and conservatives have leaders too. But followers can disagree with their leaders, can go somewhere else. Followers of a practitioner of "individual enterprise" tend to make money, even the lowliest follower.

The same can not be said of liberal elites who expect blind faith from their followers while enjoying all the benefits of elitism.

At least, you can disagree with your capitalist boss, but woe betide the folks who speak up under collectivist rule. Remember the Gulag? Don't think Putin has forgotten.

When liberals start demanding that we all agree, they are a engaging in false collectivism. When liberals say we should all sacrifice but makes no sacrifice themselves, they are engaging in false collectivism. When liberals demand we accept the low life while they live the high life, they are engaging in false collectivism.

Engage in capitalism. You'll make out a lot better.

Support Israel

Another reason why the New York Post is a better newspaper than the New York Times, their articles are just so damn right.

Ralph Peters opinion piece is very sound. The headline alone sums it up...

DAMNED IF THEY DO
BUT ISRAEL'S DEAD IF THEY DON'T


He details the view that Israel is not allowed to defend itself but terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah are allowed to attack it.

Poppycock!

Could you imagine how long America would tolerate some kind of La Raza group lobbing hundreds of missiles a day into El Paso, Texas. About one New York minute is how long.

So how dare these liberal elites condemn Israel for defending itself?

Defining Moments

Rich Lowry's opinion piece in the New York Post is about both Obama's pick Rick Warren for his inaugeration invocation and about the larger culture war raging through America.

The article is worth a glance but its this summation which I think should be most remembered...

Ah, yes, "gracefully step aside." That's essentially what the cultural left has been asking traditionalists to do for 30 years now, to politely shut up while it goes about redefining the country's mores. The answer must now be, as it has always been, "No way, no how."
Why?

Because whether it is about gay marriage or abortion or scientific honesty, the fight between liberals and conservatives has always been between screamers and speakers. I, for one, am with Rich here. I no longer wish to speak politely to people who are too busy screaming at me to hear what I have to say.

I have frequently noticed that we all want the same ends (more or less) but the means to achieve those ends are where the principle differences lay. It seems however that you simply can not get your average liberal to admit something as simple as that.

Sincere there is no talking to these folks, I say break out the pitchforks and let's fight to preserve what is right.

More Media Bias

This time, the bias reveals itself in a compare and constrast of Presidential workout schedules.

As usual Michelle Malkin is scathingly entertaining.

I particularly like her ending....

Fit Republican president = Selfish, indulgent, creepy fascist.

Fit Democratic president = Disciplined, health-conscious Adonis role model.

The good news: In just a few short weeks, W. will be able to exercise in peace, free from the disapproving glares of journalists now rushing to mop the sweat — er, the glisten — from Barack Obama’s hallowed brow.

A Generation of Indoctrination

I think the subtitle of this article explains both the title and why you should read it.

After 30 years, it may be time to take Iran’s threats seriously.

Stabbing the Heart of Science

Competitive Enterprise Institute writer Richard Morrison has an article up on their website, here, about Obama's bad science picks.

These picks are scientists with alarmist agendas and do not bode good for the country or the scientific community.

Don't say you weren't warned.


(Disclosure - my husband works for CEI, it's a good place. Check out its website.)

This is Fun

Here is a link to a list of the best "Best of 2008" Lists.

I especially like the "Top 20 Mug Shots of 2008" - Classy.

Hat tip to Jonah Goldberg

Victor Davis Hanson on Sarah Palin

I liked this from NRO so much I am quoting it in full....

A Media Morality Tale [Victor Davis Hanson]

The putative Caroline Kennedy candidacy for senator has had the odd effect of reopening the media can of worms treatment of Gov. Palin. Compared to Sarah Palin's almost immediate immersion into crowds and public speaking, Kennedy seems like a deer in the headlights before the media that is either ignored or asked to submit written questions. Palin was a natural; Kennedy can't finish a single sentence without "You know" or "I mean." Palin's family saga and daily grind were populist to the core; Kennedy is a creature of a few blocks' radius in Manhattan and Martha's Vineyard.

Outsider and lower-middle-class Palin toughed it out in Wasilla for years of politicking on a 16-year slog through Alaskan old-boy politics; Caroline Kennedy in regal fashion apparently skipped voting in about half of New York elections, and has never run for anything.

Reporters swarmed over Palin's pregnancies, and her wardrobe, but apparently took on face value that Caroline's fluff books were really a sign of either erudition or scholarship.

Conservative Palin endured liberal Charlie Gibson's glasses0on-the nose pretentiousness, and Katie Couric's attack-dog questions; insider Kennedy I doubt will meet with either, much less sit down with a hostile questioner like a Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly. Her friendly New York Times "interview" proved an embarrassment—rarely have so many words been spoken with so little content.

But, no, the real embarrassment proves to be the media itself that apparently can't see this weird unfolding self-incriminating morality tale: It is not just that Palin is conservative, Kennedy politically-correct (e.g., pro-abortion, gun control, gay marriage, etc), or Palin a newcomer to public attention, Kennedy a celebrity since childhood. Rather it is the aristocratic value system of most NY-DC journalists themselves who apparently still assume that old money, status, and an Ivy-League pedigree are reliable barometers of talent and sobriety, suggesting that the upper-East Side Kennedy's public ineptness is an aberration, a bad day, a minor distraction, while Palin's charisma and ease are superficial and a natural reflection of her Idaho sports journalism degree.

A few generations ago, Democrats would have opposed Palin but appreciated her blue-collar story, and applauded a working mom who out-politicked entrenched and richer male elites. But now the new aristocratic liberalism has adopted the values of the old silk-stocking Republicans of the 1950s—and so zombie-like worship rather than question entitlement.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Damned If We Do And...

Damned if we don't.

Mark Steyn over at NRO sums up the expectations of noblesse oblige from America that the rest of the world demands.

Americans are either crass consumers of the world's resources and blamed for global warming or Americans are desperately needed consumers of the world's resources in order to economically prop up every other country's economy on the planet.

We are the protectors and destroyers of the world and no matter which we do, they will still sneer at us.

My knee-jerk reaction is "American isolation today, American isolation tomorrow, American isolation forever" just to yank their chains. But let's face it, we need the world - not as much as they need us, but we still need them.

I still wish for a little gratitude though....

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Importance of Fatherhood

Here is the link to a website called Fathers For Good which no matter what your faith is a very good father resource.

Below is an interview with the website creator by Katherine Lopez of National Review which gives a terrific overview of the site. I especially like the parts about real feminism.

Enjoy.

The Good Dad
Fatherly advice.

An NRO Q&A

Fathers have a little something to do with Christmas — and the Christmas story. And so it seems an appropriate time to talk to Brian Caulfield, editor of the Fathers for Good website, run by the Knights of Columbus. He interrupted Christmas Eve preparations to talk to National Review Online editor Kathryn Jean Lopez about the initiative.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What is Fathers for Good? Are there Fathers for Bad?

BRIAN CAULFIELD: Fathers for Good is a new initiative for men and their families by the Knights of Columbus, launched as part of our updated web-based programs designed to show the truly dynamic face of the Catholic fraternal Order that has been serving our church and communities for 126 years.

Your readers may want to log on now to the site (www.fathersforgood.org) to post a New Year’s Resolution or hear a podcast on giving their wives the perfect gift. Or read “A Father’s Blog” on the miracle of the Virtue Tree, a true tale.

The website offers a wealth of information, interaction, inspiration, and opportunities for formation that will help men become better fathers and husbands, with the latest insights and research, as well as some age-old wisdom. For example, we have podcasts from Super Bowl champ Chris Godfrey about how to talk to your teens about sex, and the well-known pro-lifer Helen Alvare explains the meaning of the domestic church.

The name Fathers for Good has a double meaning: 1) every man in his heart wants to be a good father, even amid human frailty; and 2) once a man becomes a father, once he generates new life, it is “for good,” for the rest of his life. No matter the circumstances of his life or those of his child, that man will always bear the identity of a father. This is good news of great joy, and we try to help men live out that joy.


LOPEZ: Who is Fathers for Good? Are you theme-driven? What’s the goal?

CAULFIELD: The goal is to be of service to fathers in their often difficult vocation. Men in general and fathers in particular are often portrayed negatively on TV and popular media, and men need to know that their specifically male virtues and character are valued and have a place in the modern world. We also abide by Pope John Paul II’s insight that men learn their fatherhood through the love of their wives, so the relationship with their wives is key.

The first message we want to convey is that men have an understanding friend at Fathers for Good and in the larger community of the Knights of Columbus. We have 1.75 million members in 13,000 councils throughout the world, and the website is available in English, Spanish, French and Polish.

The purpose of Fathers for Good is explained in the 90-second video introduction by Carl Anderson, the supreme knight (CEO) of the Knights of Columbus, that is posted on the site. As he states, Fathers for Good is not an exclusive community — it is a site for men who are striving to do the best they can. We want to hear from men and women and there is an interactive feature for posting questions and answers.


LOPEZ: Is this an initiative just for Catholics?

CAULFIELD: It’s for all men, though the site is in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, which is really a combination of natural law and common sense. Adhering to timeless truths actually gives us the freedom to explore new topics in a way that is not subject to the politically correct trends of the day.


LOPEZ: Why should moms want dads on your site?

CAULFIELD: Not only that, but dads should want their wives to visit the site. There’s a section called “Good for Mothers,” which has the motto, taken from Father Hesburgh, “The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.”

A wife should encourage her husband to visit Fathers for Good because he will find resources to improve his relationship with his wife and his children. We call men to the discipline of daily self-giving love, which is also the way of self-fulfillment.


LOPEZ: Does your site go against the male grain? Don’t you fellas not like reading directions?

CAULFIELD: Well, we don’t ask guys to go against nature, so we don’t expect them to suddenly start asking directions, or read them. But seriously, the site is about embracing the adventure of fatherhood. Men need challenges, goals, heroism, and we tell them that their greatest call can be found right in their own backyard, in the daily stuff of family life, which can be Christlike and sacrificial.


LOPEZ: Why is it not patronizing or sexist to say that fathers are “protectors”? Can’t women protect too? Why should feminists embrace the Fathers for Good version of fatherhood?

CAULFIELD: Well, fathers are protectors, and I think most mothers expect that of their husbands. Of course, mothers are protectors also, not only of their children but of their husbands. They can save men from the excesses of their characters and personalities, and make them fully the man they are called to be.

I think Christian feminists, at least, would be pleased with Fathers for Good. We’re getting beyond the angry, anti-male feminism to the authentic feminism that John Paul II talks about.


LOPEZ: When was your launch date? How many have clicked on and participated in one way or another?

CAULFIELD: We launched just this past August and have been focused on a target audience to test content, features and feedback, but now we’re moving out to a wider web audience. We appreciate any comments and suggestions from your readers. We need to work together in promoting authentic fatherhood, which is based on God the Father.


LOPEZ: Since it’s Christmas season: What should we be focusing on about St. Joseph as father? If we’re fathers? If we’re mothers? If we’re single? If we’re clergy? Did I leave anyone out?

CAULFIELD: We have a whole section on St. Joseph, whom we call the Patron of Fathers. St. Joseph was a “just man” who may have had dreams about a certain way of life with his young bride, Mary, but after hearing from the angel of God, he accepted the truth of his fatherhood immediately.

He was a laborer, a man of action and few words, who was told by the angel to get up and he got up, to go and he went, to flee and he fled, to return and he returned. He is a model to biological fathers in his guidance of Jesus, who learned to be a man under his care; to single men in his chaste attitude toward Mary; to priests in his celibate love, and also to women in showing them that good men can be trusted.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Because I Said So

Apparently, Obama's released an internal "review" of his transition team's contacts with Gov. Blagojevich and surprise, surprise, nothing inappropriate happened.

Okay, we'll just take your word for it.

This article looks at how Obama has handled this scandal as an object lesson in what we can expect in the future. Additionally, this piece shows that the "review" leaves many questions unanswered. Like why was Obama interviewed by prosecutors? And what documentation was "reviewed" that proves no inappropriate contact was made? And who exactly did the "review" interview to ensure nothing inappropriate happened?

And so on and so on.

As the article ends...
To the extent that the report succeeds in its goal of establishing the distance between Obama and Blagojevich, it necessarily raises the question: Why was the president-elect and leader of the Democratic party playing no role in a key appointment to national office being made in his home state, and by a Democratic governor?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vote Ken Blackwell!!!

My husband's former and very respected boss was an extraordinarily intelligent man. Yet he considered Ken Blackwell to be one of the smartest men he's ever met. And I personally told Mr. Blackwell's wife that at a 2004 Inaugeral Ball.

So you can see we've been following Mr. Blackwell's career with some interest for some time. Now Ken Blackwell is running for the RNC Chairmanship. I suggest you read this, and then back the man. He's got a good plan.

As I've Said Before...

I wrote two posts about this that when it comes to politics, a history of failure does not create a future of success.

Thomas Sowell appears to agree with me in his article, "Another Great Depression".

Today, increasing numbers of scholars recognize that FDR’s own policies were a further extension of interventions begun under Hoover. Moreover, the temporary rise in unemployment after the stock market crash was nowhere near the massive and long-lasting unemployment after government interventions.
The interventionist tendencies of liberal elites will harm us all unless we teach them about history and not repeating it.

It's The Sun

“As a scientist and life-long liberal Democrat, I find the constant regurgitation of the anecdotal, fear mongering clap-trap about human-caused global warming to be a disservice to science,” Hertzberg wrote in September 26’s USA Today. “From the El NiƱo year of 1998 until Jan., 2007, the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere near its surface decreased some 0.25 C [0.45 F]. From Jan., 2007 until the spring of 2008, it dropped a whopping 0.75 C [1.35 F].”

As global cooling becomes more widely recognized, Americans from Maine to Malibu should feel confident in dreaming of a white Christmas.

The above is from Deroy Mutdock's excellent piece titled "Whatever happened to Global Warming?"

He's a wise man.

Respect from the Respected

John O'Sullivan - a great man and friend of my husband's - has written a wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal defending Sarah Palin and even giving her a postive but rational comparison to Margeret Thatcher (a righteous kick-ass babe).

John may not be very well known over here but in the UK he is a known and impressive figure. He is a personal friend of Thatcher and a man I personally admire.

And as I admire both Thatcher and Palin, I am quite pleased to read this article. It is well worth it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

NYC Has Parrots?!?

And apparently they are pesky parrots.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Like Michelle Malkin

And I think she is absolutely correct here.

Parker Watch Update

When it comes to Sarah Palin, Kathleen Parker is still an idiot.

Vile Man

Why people wear Che t-shirts has always been beyond me. Would they also wear Hitler t-shirts? Because the two gentleman had a lot more in common than most people know.

Except this fellow, Mark Goldblatt, and his take on the upcoming movie on Che coming out in January.

Quote I like best?....

Indeed, one of the ongoing mysteries of American popular culture is why Communism is merchandised more often and more effectively than Nazism or Islamism. Is it just a matter of public relations? Why does an obsessive Nazi-hunter like Simon Wiesenthal get positive press while an obssessive Communist-hunter like Joe McCarthy is vilified? Why is Marxist Theory, with its alternative view of individual versus collective rights, an accepted academic discipline — but Sharia Theory, with its alternative view of female empowerment, an insult to women?

The truth of the matter is that Nazism, Islamism, and Communism are all totalitarian movements. All three stand in direct opposition to Enlightenment values of religious tolerance and rational inquiry. All three seek to exterminate whoever stands in their way. Nazism justifies its genocide in the name of racial purity. Islamism, in the name of spiritual purity. Communism, in the name of socio-economic purity.

One way or another, the shallow graves get filled.

I'm a little worried for Kevin

But I think his article here is very interesting and worth a perusal.

His "interest" in Miss Manners and librarians is my chief concern.

My Money is on The Fish

Jonah Goldberg has a brilliant article up exposing the hypocracy of the liberal elites by comparing and contrasting the media and elite's treatment of Caroline Kennady vs. Sarah Palin.

His last line sums it up but read the whole thing.

Whatever Palin’s faults, Sarah Barracuda’s America has a lot more going for it than Sweet Caroline’s.

Sorry Santa, I Still Say No to Bailouts!

I'm quoting this in full because it's just that good.



Kringle, Elf Union leaders present draft bailout plan (Iowahawk Photo)

WASHINGTON - Flanked by officials from the United Elf Toytinkerers union, SantaCorp CEO Kris Kringle today told the House Ways and Means Committee that without immediate government financial help, his firm would be forced to declare bankruptcy, lay off thousands of elves and reindeer, and potentially cancel its annual worldwide Christmas Eve toy delivery.

"These are grim economic times for everyone, but even more so for non-profit toy manufacturers in the Snow Belt," said Kringle. "Our accountants have indicated that we are on track to exhaust our reserves of cash and magical pixie fairydust by December 23. Oh deary me."

Kringle and UET union president Binky McGiggles presented a draft emergency bailout plan to the committee calling for US $18 trillion in federal grants, loan guarantees, and sugarplum gumdrops that they said would keep the company solvent through December 26.

"We believe this proposal shows that management and labor can work together to craft a reasonable, financially responsible short-term survival plan," said McGiggles. "After the new Congress is seated in January, we would be happy to return to present a long-term package to get us through April."

Kringle warned that failure to approve the plan would have dire global economic consequences.

"Oh goodness," said an emotional Kringle, fumbling with his glasses, "think of all the children who will wake up sad and angry and confused on Christmas morning, with nothing in their stockings. Let's just say I wouldn't want to be their parents. Or a someone answering your switchboards on December 26."

SantaCorp, which lost over $2 trillion in FY 2007, has seen a steady erosion in market share and profitability over the last five years. Industry analysts say that its precarious position is due to a number of factors.

"You might say it's a perfect snowstorm," said Merrill Lynch analyst Jennifer Rothstein. "The youth consumer market is demanding more for less, at a time when the government and courts have forced SantaCorp to lower its 'good list' credit rating standards. They face increased non-union competition from the East Pole, and huge increases in fuel prices for magical reindeer flying hay. It's a hard sell for the investment community."

Veteran market watcher Charles Kessler of ToyWeek said SantaCorp's labor cost structure was a significant factor in its recent struggles.

"After the 1982 strike SantaCorp offered the UET a generous pension plan promising free lifetime candy canes and unicorns," explained Kessler. "It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the company accountants forgot to factor in elf immortality."

Despite the dire picture painted by Kringle and union officials, they encountered skeptical questioning from some committee members. Several members slammed the SantaCorp officials for flying to the hearing on a private luxury sleigh, while others openly questioned the company's business model.

"Almost every business in my district has had to adjust to the new economic climate, but SantaCorp seems to believe it can continue with the same old profligate giveaway business-as-usual," said Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin). "I'm sorry for your situation, but it is difficult to justify giving trillions of US taxpayer dollars to a private company that is outmoded, headquartered offshore, and, frankly, imaginary."


Kringle defended the company's business practices and his reported 4 billion cookie annual salary, saying that the company was "doing the best we can under trying circumstances." He also blamed the company's struggles in part on federal environmental and safety regulations.

"Frankly the amount of paperwork you require is astronomical," said Kringle. "OSHA inspections and reporting requirements have doubled our factory production cycle, and every time I tramp a little fireplace soot into a living room I have to fill out three separate EPA environmental impact reports."

Kringle also urged the committee to enact industry tort protections, saying that the company remained saddled with crushing legal and insurance bills following the landmark 1974 class action liability case Nader v. Jarts, Clackers, SantaCorp, et al.

UET President McGiggles warned that failure to pass a bailout package would have dire social consequences.

"All of you have seen the bleak pictures of how plant layoffs have already effected ToyTown -- the boarded-up gingerbread houses covered in frosting grafitti, the abandoned sleighs up on blocks, the widespread crime and sucrose abuse, the antler-wielding gangs of unemployed reindeer yearlings," said McGiggles. "That is only a hint of what is to come if the plant shuts down. If you think an industry bailout is expensive, well, just consider the cost of a full-scale violent rioting by millions of desperate unemployed elves, with warehouses full of surplus BB guns."

House Ways and Means committee chairman Charles Rangel (D-New York) motioned to end the hearings, saying that with only 7 bailout shopping days before Christmas the committee needed to move on to other industries facing emergency financial crises.

"The American economy and Christmas itself stand on the edge of disaster, It's time for my colleagues show we are good boys and girls," said Rangel, who is reported to have received over $6 million in campaign contributions from SantaCorp and the UET over the last two years.

A full House vote on the SantaCorp is scheduled Friday morning, where it is expected to pass by a comfortable margin. President Bush has pledged to sign any and all bailout request from Congress until the end of his term, "no queshnions ast."

"I want to insurer the American People and the evil doers that I and the Crongress and the Hankster [Treasury Sec. Paulsen] and Big Ben [possibly Fed Chair Bernanke] and [unintelligible] and me are unineted together to approve the financial aid and regulations and federal takeovers to get our American free ennerpise system back on track," said the President, speaking from inside his new shoe-proof plexiglas enclosure.

In concluding the hearings, Rangel gave the SantaCorp officials a personal vote of confidence.

"We believe in you, Santa," said Rangel, handing Kringle what appeared to be a list. "As long as you continue to believe in us."

Men are Important

Just as good fathers are vital to the raising of strong healthy children, so too are men in general as this article attests.

Some where along the way, men got marginalize and it is, quite frankly, time that stopped.

Democrats & Corruption

Looks like Obama will be hobbled by the antics of certain corrupt democrats...

Handbagging The Economy

Margaret Thatcher is a righteous kick-ass babe on the economy and everything else.

Apparently the Wall Street Journal agrees.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gotta Love This Letter

Even though Grover Norquest stole the bottle of wine from an empty table at an AEI Annual Dinner that I wanted to steal, I've always had great respect for the man and his work.

I now have even greater respect, as will you I am sure when you read this letter to the President of the United States of America.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Keep the Ban

I think they should keep this ban going. It's traditional and correct.

There is no substitute for butter.

Oh My Goodness

There itty bitty, teeny tiny little animals are too adorable for words. A must see!

Also, I really NEED a baby pygmy marmoset. They have them at the Zoo, and we went there once and they pygmy marmosets had babies and they were so cute and Iain couldn't get me away from the cage for half an hour. And I really, really need a baby pygmy marmoset. I promise I'll take care of it. I'll feed it and love it and clean it and love it.

I just need a baby pygmy marmoset so bad.

I want. I want. I need. I need.

I am in trouble

My daughter is already annoyed with me when I tell her people eat guinea pigs.

I would be in soooo much trouble if I pointed this out to her.

Sometimes, it is important for mommy to be wrong.

Pocket Guide For Smarty-Pants

Just keep this link handy the next time someone starts spouting off inanities.

Hey, why are you standing so close to me?

The Simpsons Rule

Because science taught by cartoon characters is always way more fun.

This is just a cute little link to some of the science highlights of The Simpsons.

And since we are a very pro-Simpson household (can't remember the last time I got through a week without at least 7 Simpson references - minimum), I just had to post this.

Look

At all the pretty clouds.

Just scroll down to see the pictures.

I like the swiss cheese look. You know, if anyone tried to paint these, it would just look fake.

Do They Know It's Christmas Time At All

Apparently "researchers" want to know exactly what sharks and rays think about Christmas music.

Yup, that's why I graduated from college.

Media Corrections of 2008

This is hilarious. I totally got sucked in.

Check it out but be careful or you'll be at this site for a long time.

Ummm...

YUCK!

I'm just glad the newborn is okay.

Ass

This man is an ass and I'm glad the courts showed good sense in denying his appeal.

Really!

Freaking Motherhood

Let's just state that this article pretty much sums it up for me.

Yes, mother's over-react to stuff. It's our JOB. We're mothers. Our job is to keep you alive, happy, and healthy until you become independent adults. And then we worry about you getting married and giving us grandchildren.

It is what we are supposed to do.

I have a very strong belief that if you did a CAT scan of a woman, before, during and after a pregnancy, you would see actual architectural changes in her brain.

I am still me but I got rewired while pregnant. My sense of smell is obnoxious (ask my husband). I can hear pins and toys drop on carpet two floors away. I know what my kids are doing without turning my head. I call this my "mom antenna" and I apparently grew it sometime in the eighth month of my first pregnancy.

At any rate, that article is pretty on the money.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Other Kid On A Swing

My kid on a swing

A Look Back At Bush

John O'Sullivan is a marvelous man. And so is this article of his about George W. Bush and compassionate conservatism. I wasn't entirely prepared to agree with it, but I ended up doing so. John's intelligence and wit has that effect on folks.

God in Government

As this article points out, our Presidential Oath ends with "so help me God" and it is an important reminder that separation of church and state was to keep the state out of the church, NOT the church out of the state.

A moment of silence imposes upon no one but gives us a chance to ponder the importance of the moment, event, or school day. On inauguration day, an oath before the American people should also be under God.

Scathing as Usual

Michelle Malkin nails it with The Real Housewives of Crook County. When she calls someone a Dragon Lady, you'd better duck because the fur coats are flying.

Go Patrick Go

Bryon York thinks prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald isn't going to stop with Blago and Team Obama is at risk.

Read for yourself his compelling argument.

Hat Tip to Jonah Golberg

This video of a tumbleweed vortex from Mr. Goldberg is really kinda cool.

Criminal Review

Top 20 Mug shots of 2008.

We got a lotta class acts this year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My To Do List

Gifts for family, friends, teachers, etc. (still shopping a bit)

200+ Christmas cards to nearly every continent on earth (done)

Actively Celebrate Special Days During Advent (doing)

Bake:
24 individual pumpkin pies (done)
24 cupcakes (need to do)
5 different cookies (several batches each) (doing)
Popcorn balls (need to do)
Brownies (need to do)

All gifts wrapped and if necessary mailed. (partly done)

One Early Christmas Dinner (need to plan and start soon)

Christmas Eve Dinner (need to do)

Christmas Breakfast and Christmas Dinner (with neighbors) (need to do)

All while hosting in-laws for a month and running a regular household.

I may not be posting quite so actively for the next week or so.

I hope you understand.

I Signed It - How About You

He's Making a List, Checking It Twice [Mark Steyn]

...Gonna find out who's melting the ice. “I think the deniers should put their names on a big list to be handed to future generations,” writes a global warm-monger. “These are the people that screwed the planet.”

So here's the big list. Feel free to sign. I understand that, after the ecopalypse and total societal collapse, the first 200 people on the list will have the honor of being fed to Al Gore, Gaia's vicar on earth.

(This is a good post-Poznan post, by the way.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Husband On TV

On our local Fox News Channel - blink and you miss him.

But don't forget to buy his book, The Really Inconvenient Truths; Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know About--Because They Helped Cause Them

It's the only Christmas present you need this year.

Bjorn Lomborg is Always a Good Read

here is his latest from The Australian.

Another from NRO (I'm Lazy Today)

1,000 New Species [Jonah Goldberg]


This is a very cool story:

BANGKOK (AFP) – Scientists have discovered more than 1,000 species in Southeast Asia's Greater Mekong region in the past decade, including a spider as big as a dinner plate, the World Wildlife Fund said Monday.
A rat thought to have become extinct 11 million years ago and a cyanide-laced, shocking pink millipede were among creatures found in what the group called a "biological treasure trove".
The species were all found in the rainforests and wetlands along the Mekong River, which flows through Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan.
"It doesn't get any better than this," Stuart Chapman, director of WWF's Greater Mekong Programme, was quoted as saying in a statement by the group.
"We thought discoveries of this scale were confined to the history books."

But this is my favorite part:

Not all species were found hiding in remote jungles — the Laotian rock rat, which the study said was thought to be extinct about 11 million years ago, was first encountered by scientists in a local food market in 2005, it said.

One species of pit viper was first noted by scientists after it was found in the rafters of a restaurant at the headquarters of Thailand's Khao Yai national park in 2001.

First they didn't have the bamboo umbrellas for the drinks, then they have presumably extinct pit vipers in the rafters! Remove them! And bring me the cheese sandwich appetizers you talked me out of!

[Apologies to The Jerk]

From Peter Kirsanow over at NRO

Rep. George Miller (D- Ca.) introduced the Employee Free Choice Act in the House in 2007. As noted before, EFCA substantially dispenses with secret-ballot union elections supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. Instead, EFCA directs the NLRB to certify a union if 50% + 1 of the employees in a bargaining unit sign union authorization cards.


In 2001, however, Rep. Miller had a different position on secret-ballot union elections. In a letter to Mexican officials following a labor dispute in that country, Rep. Miller stated as follows:
However, we feel that the private ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they may otherwise not choose.
Joining Miller as signatories to the letter were Barney Frank, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, Zoe Lofgren, and Barbara Lee, among others. Each supports EFCA.

Walmart Restored

In the post below, I discuss my strong feelings about freedom to pay how I want to pay. I wrote it because some years ago Walmart did it to me.

Now, I've always defended Walmart but I stopped going to Walmart and giving them my business because I couldn't give them a check without Walmart treating it like a debit card.

Big No-No with me. I complained all the way to their head of marketing (yes, I am that persistant). It was that incident that had me research the whole check-writing vs. debit card thing I discuss below.

Today however, Walmart is a bit restored into my good graces.

Apparently, the Sorry Sliders game is the single hottest toy in the Christmas market this year. Hasbro (via Parker Brothers) no longer has it in stock. Amazon.com is selling it for nearly $60. And I went to Toys R Us, a Walmart and two Targets looking for it (respective websites said they had it but they lied).

Finally, I checked a second Walmart we have in our area, not only did the Toy department answer right away, they found the game and but it aside for me. Needless to say, I made the 7 mile trip across town in record time and thanked the lady with tears in my eyes. (It was the only toy my daughter asked the big guy for and this could be the last year she does that.)

Walmart came through. I paid with a debit card (I know better now) but that I was able to keep my daughter's faith intact for one more year, is my Christmas miracle.

Thank you Walmart.

Checks Are Not Debit Cards

When I choose to pay a store for their goods by check, I using the direct descendant of the letters of credit the medieval banking system developed and which led to the modern financial systems we use today.

Writing a check at a place that accepts checks is perfectly legal.

However, if I choose to write a check, I do NOT believe the store had the right to take that choice away from me by processing the check as a debit card.

I have a debit card but I chose to write a check.

Why did I go through all the bother of writing out a check and getting my ID ready so that the pimply-faced cashier can just hand it back to me?

"Oh", I hear you say, "it all comes out of your checking account so what's the big deal?"

First of all, some banks charge YOU for the store's actions. Yup, some banks are charging a fee for your check getting processed like a debit card - when it was the store that took the choice away from you in the first place.

Second of all, checks and debit cards are two entirely different financial instruments with different sets of governance. For example, I can write you a check for $100, then you can endorse that check and hand it to someone else who can endorse it and deposit it into their own checking account.

You can not do that with a debit card - only you are allowed to use the debit card. Whereas a check can bounce from person to person before cashed.

I tend to avoid stores that take away my check-writing privileges. If I absolutely have to go to them, I'll go but I rarely do. Why? Because I really, really hate it when how I choose to pay is taken away from me.

Hate It.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Trillion Here, A Trillion There

Perhaps if they stopped spending good money after bad, we could craft a recovery plan that didn't suck every last tax-paying American dry.

We don't need make work plans, we need to unleash entrepenuers and help people re-train for new jobs.

Is it too much to ask that politicians think rather than spend? Oh, wait, few if any American politicians have ever held a real job for more than a couple of years. They wouldn't know how to run a business if even if their daughter helped them make the lemonade.

Tissue of Lies

Every single statement in this article from AP is a lie.

A falsehood.

A deliberate twisting of the truth.

Don't believe me? Visit www.cei.org for the real truth.

No wonder AP is dying.

ConservativeHome.com

This is an excellent British Conservatives political website and I am really happy with their point of view - especially regarding the European Union and environmentalism.

I view both as gateways to socialism and something that must be stopped. So this piece here is rather reassuring.

Cornucopia of corruption

Jonah's piece on Chicago politics is a lovely bit of joyful snarkiness. Grab a big spoon and enjoy.

It would be lovely if the folks who spent so much of their parent's money getting investigative journalism degrees from expensive colleges could make the same effort at investigating Obama's corrupt connections as they did, say, Sarah Palin.

Why All The Fuss

Chef Ferran Adria of el Bulli is an astonishing pioneer of molecular gastronomy but sometimes, one has to ask, why?

In this article, Chef Adria is asking physists and scientists for help pushing the boundries of what is food. Interesting idea.

However, in the article he describes what he does with a strawberry....

One video presentation showed the recreation of a strawberry: The fruit's juices were mixed with gelatin-like agar, then molded and stuffed with strawberry sorbet frozen with liquid nitrogen, a method Adria pioneered.

The end product looked like a strawberry and Adria said diners who ate with their eyes closed could not tell it from a natural strawberry. It's this new frontier of food and science that Adria asked the audience to ponder.

"What is natural?" he asked.
The original strawberry is what is natural, chef.

I've seen this cooking technique with the strawberry, it is fascenating. But again one has to ask, Why? All that fuss and technology to create somethng that a blindfolded taster can not distinquish from a natural strawberry?

I tend to lean more towards Chef Thomas Keller's approach. At his The French Laundry restaurant, he doesn't deconstruct and reconstruct, he intensifies until when you eat his strawberry, it is the purest form and flavor of the fruit possible.

25 Things I Would Do If I Ran The Country....

I'm re-posting this because I like it.

In no particular order

1) Education is a state right. Local property taxes pay for local schools. The Federal government should butt out, therefore I would abolish the department of education.

2) If the president has term limits so should all members of Congress. Our government was built on a system of checks and balances. There is a check on the office of the presidency which needs to be balanced by a check on the legislature. 3 terms in the House, 2 terms in the Senate offers a person a 24 year career in politics. That’s long enough.

3) Congress can no longer vote itself raises. Individual Senators and Representatives should appeal to their constituents for pay raises and have it put to a vote or referendum accordingly.

4) Line by line veto to eliminate pork.

5) Ditto Ear marks.

6) Emergency spending bills are only allowed during natural disasters or within 3 – 6 months of an aggressive attack on American soil or overseas bases. Otherwise, the department in question (I’m looking at you DoD) has to get the monies from its existing budget.

7) ALL laws passed must clearly state its intended effect/goal and a review of its effectiveness evaluated by an independent government office, the GAO, for instance after five years. If a law is found lacking by the specified measure, the law is automatically returned to Congress for review – either to be struck down or re-written to address its failures.

8) All government regulations – starting with ones governing business/energy/agriculture – that are over 20 years old must be examined by independent reviewers to determine if said regulation is a help or a hindrance to the business practice and the government’s ability to enforce the regulation. If it fails the test, the regulation is automatically negated.

9) Tax loopholes for individuals and corporations are closed.

10) Tax code must be streamlined until it can be printed on no more than 25 pages in 12pt Times New Roman font. Figure it out.

11) Any Federal agency that is a duplicate of a state function (excepting interstate issues) is automatically eliminated.

12) English is the official language of the United States of America.

13) Our borders are ours to control. All unauthorized entries into the US will be treated as a criminal offense. American citizenship will no longer be extended to children born in the US to illegal immigrant parents under the age of three. They and their parents will be returned to their country of origin where they may re-apply to enter the US.

14) Any business hiring illegal immigrants will face stiff fines and criminal charges.

15) Any persons using false identification will face criminal charges, restitution to the victim, and if illegal, expulsion from the US.

16) Moments of silence are re-instated in schools and government institutions. If you make an official government oath on a bible (swear the truth in court, oath of presidency, etc.), then God is part of the government. Get over it. Separation of church and state was to keep the state out of the church, NOT the church out of the state.

17) You are the person you chose to be. Victim-statuses in government law will be reviewed as objectively as possible to determine if it helps or hinders various classes of individuals from the handicapped to ethnic minorities to genders to sexual orientation.

18) All treaties between the US and foreign countries will be reviewed. Those deemed unfair to US interests will be renegotiated.

19) Modern developed countries have the ability to defend themselves. We will remove US troops from those countries (I'm looking at you Germany) and relocate to countries with greater need or return the troops home. Many of these overseas bases are now rewards for soldiers rather than actual deployments.

20) Independent reviews will be conducted of every government department starting with the Department of Defense with the intent of eliminating waste and redundancy.

21) Soldiers and government civilians should be making equal pay and receive equal pensions. Salaries either drop or rise but soldiers and civilian workers across all departments of the federal government will be equalized.

22) If you bring a lawsuit to court and you lose, you must pay the defendant’s legal fees.

23) We’re building more nuclear power plants, drilling off shore, and drilling in Alaska. Get over it, we need the energy. The money from taxing the positive economic growth caused by abundant energy can go to research to develop realistic and affordable new energy sources.

24) All government subsidies to corporations and businesses will be reviewed and most likely stopped. The taxpayer should only pay for the goods and services they buy directly. Subsidies are forced gifts from the taxpayer to well-represented-by-lobbies corporations (sugar lobby) via the government. It is theft, wrong and largely unnecessary.

25) Any charity that makes more than $50 million in donations a year, loses its tax-exempt status and is shifted into a slightly progressive taxation rate. (Income from investments, etc. doesn’t count.) Donations to the charity are still tax-exempt, just the charity's total income is taxed. Any charity caught funneling its donations into other charities or shell companies to hide its income will be shut down.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm Old

[sigh]

My great-grandmother lived to be nearly 100 (missed it by three months). She used to tell me about horse-drawn vehicles and when she got her first real fridge. The last delivery of heating coal was still in her basement when she died. And I remember seeing a horse-sled and scythes in her garage.

She went from that to NASA and miniskirts and the internet (she was a total news junkie and would have loved it). She saw the entire modernization of America over the course of her life.

Thinking of her while I've blogged a lot today (sorry), I suddenly remembered when you used to have to type out all the stuff instead of just clicking a button.

I used to feel old for vinyl records and a complete lack of remote controls. Now I feel old simply by not typing.

How old did my dear great-grandmother feel?

You Can't Handle Le Truth

Apparently, the French President has spiked a report on electric cars because the report basically says they are not viable.

Once again, the left shows itself unable to just be open, honest and transparent.

McCain's Blackberries

Ooops!

Enviro-Bias

Why should we have been surprised by the pro-left bias in the press during this election season when we had the pro-left environmental bias before us for years and years and years.

The latest example I've stumbled across is this jellyfish story that blames global warming for lots of jellyfish.

The article points out near the end that the "researchers quoted in the report said this one may be a natural cycle."

Then the article immediately says this,
""There is clear, clean evidence that certain types of human-caused environmental stresses are triggering jellyfish swarms in some locations," William Hamner of the University of California Los Angeles says in the report.

These include pollution-induced "dead zones", higher water temperatures and the spread of alien jellyfish species by shipping."
So which is it? Normal cyclical occurances or man-made global warming?

If you don't know, then does it matter?

And just out of curiousity, if the oceans take up over 70% of the Earth and humans can only inhabit about 10% of the remaining landspace and the atmosphere has only warmed up a degree or two in the last 60 years, then how in the world could these jellyfish blooms be our fault?

Pile On Blago

It's so nice to know this is the political culture our next administration was raised in.

Blagojevich & Harris & Obama & Emanuel

Feeling Ill

This whole saga just breaks my heart as well as makes me feel ill.

How evil are you to do this to a child, your child?

A Man of Sound Beliefs

I've read this man's book and I have personally met him.

But best of all, Czech President Vaclav Klaus is right when he "hit out at the EU climate deal concluded Friday and described global climate issues as "a silly luxury.""

I'm so glad he is getting the EU Presidency this January. Watch him, he's very sound as my British husband says.

Spend the money

Sheesh.

They are worth millions. Could afford to stay anywhere for a month. And he just dropped something like $40,000 on a ring for his wife.

Rent for a damn month for goodness sakes!

Who am I talking about? The Obamas, of course. Wanting to push their way in early apparently.

Eye-Candy

I might actually watch the Oscars this year if Hugh Jackman is hosting.

He is one sweet piece of eye-candy!

Yummy.

1973 Ice Storms

I grew up in Conn. and I remember the ice storms of 1973 when they forced us out of our home.

I also remember the big fear back then being the coming ice age, not global warming.

At any rate, I hope my relatives in Mass. and New Hampshire are okay, going through this ice storm.

Is this car weird or cool?

I can't make up my mind whether this is the oddest looking car or the coolest.

Non-Man-Made Climate "Change"

Because the Earth has never experienced any change in its climate until 1940, this article about supervolcanos possibly causing a mass extinction 250+ million years ago is such a pleasure to read.

Environmentalists who wring their hands over our atmosphere heating up one single degree in one hundred years are either so very lame or trying to get us to believe them so they can control our lifestyles.

I'll tell you one thing, I live in the South. No one will take away my air conditioning. No one.

Paper of Record

This article from the New York Post is so dead on accurate - especially about China - that I urge everyone to read it. The potential glimpses of our future are well worth knowing and remembering.

PC BS

In Great Britain, a country where Christianity is the state religion and the sum of all ethnic minorities (religious or otherwise) make up less than 10% of the total population, a school was informed that its school choir could not sing at a Christmas event because its songs were "too religious".

It's Christmas You Freakin' Heathens!

Christmas!!

This is PC BS and heaps of scorn should be continuously poured over these event organizers' heads for their sheer idiocy.

Lest We Forget

I liked this so much, I am posting it in its entirety.

The Legacy of December 13 [Gabe Ledeen]

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s capture by U.S. forces, when he was pulled dirty, afraid, and alone from a hole in Tikrit, Iraq. Five years from that day, Iraqis continue to face a somewhat uncertain future fraught with challenges and perils. Critics of the war complain that there is no certainty that democracy can take root in Iraq, and lament the possibility that this “experiment” will fail. These cynics are correct in asserting that our achievements in Iraq remain fragile and potentially reversible, and they may be justified in their skepticism about an Iraqi democracy’s staying power. One thing is certain though: The Iraqi people, who have never had reason to, are now learning how to hope. They no longer face each day with the certainty that conditions are immutable and inevitable, as they had been forced to do for so many years under Saddam’s regime.

Saddam Hussein, his sons, and his supporters terrorized the people of Iraq and subjected them to violence and maltreatment without reason or restraint. His record of rape, torture, murder, and oppression is well documented but marginalized and deflected by critics who claim that the violence of the war overshadows Hussein’s heinous crimes. This argument does not, and cannot stand. During Saddam Hussein’s reign, Iraqis had no sense that the terror would ever end. The individual citizen had neither the right nor the ability to oppose Saddam’s henchmen, who took what they wanted, killed and raped at will, and tortured (think hooks, blowtorches, and electricity) to intimidate or eliminate potential enemies. The purpose of this evil was solely to maintain Saddam’s power and strengthen his regime by dominating the will of the people. He was held up as something more than human, above all laws and criticism and accountable to no one. Operation Desert Storm did little to give Iraqis lasting hope that Saddam would be defeated, and when he ruthlessly crushed the Shia and Kurds after the war without response from the West, they recognized it as another validation of Saddam’s invincibility.

When U.S. soldiers pulled Saddam Hussein from that hole in Tikrit, the spell that had held Iraqis captive for decades was broken. Suddenly, there was a glimmer of hope for a population who had never had the right to dream of a better life. That hope is what differentiates every day before December 13, 2003, from every day since. It is the hope that things will get better, that the individual life can mean something. That the next generation can live a better life than the current one, and that through effort and will the people can make tomorrow better than today. This hope is fundamental to meaningful human existence, but is often taken for granted by Americans who have never endured a life where its expression is denied by a cruel dictator. Some suggest that Saddam’s dictatorship, though cruel and oppressive, was the only way to effectively control the tribes, maintain order, and govern the country. Day by day the Iraqi people are proving them wrong; this is the legacy of December 13.

— Gabe Ledeen is the director of the Vets For Freedom Educational Institute. He served two tours in al Anbar, Iraq, as a Marine officer with an infantry battalion.

Friday, December 12, 2008

He Doesn't Really Mean It

I hope!

WRONG

Colin Powell (whom I like) lashed out at Sarah Palin (whom I love) about her promotion of small town values.

He is wrong that there NOT more urban dwellers than there are suburban and rural dwellers. Small town values are better than big city ones.

How do I know? I grew up in a small town outside a HUGE city. Lived in huge city and now live in suburbs.

The urban elite need to get over themselves. Easy access to a museum or play does not a intellectual make. Nor does it make anyone a better person where it counts, in their character, in their fair dealings, in their common sense.

The Creation of a Conservative

This lovely article, again from culture11.com, traces this fellow's evolution into a conservative while at Yale.

Needless to say, he cites lots of intellectuals and philosophers but it is actually a pretty easy read and pleasantly illuminating.

I particularly liked this bit - yes I know it is long but it is worth it....

No matter how I try, I can’t identify the precise moment I first called myself a conservative. I know that in my rejection of rationalism, I considered duty and community as alternate sources of meaning; I know that I was powerfully moved by Burke’s paean to the “decent drapery of life,” his condemnations of “sophisters, economists, and calculators” and the “new conquering empire of light and reason.” If I’m strict with myself, though, it also had something to do with the people I spent time with. The most interesting, intense, and intellectual people I have ever encountered – then or since – are the men and women of the Party of the Right. Their style of Socratic dialogue, their conviction that ideas had consequences, their valorization of truth, all appealed to me: even when I had nothing, I looked to them for hints. When I finally started over, my first tentative steps away from ideology took me rightward.

My first real certainty, after Eliot, was that alienation had been implicit in my old world-picture. If we cannot understand ourselves as meaningful participants in something, we regard ourselves as fundamentally other; if all we can truly establish is our own existence as “things that think,” we have nothing to do with our fellows. Language and logic are not enough to bridge those gaps: it requires something more. In opposition to that liberal, rights-based worldview, I looked to love and to tradition.

I understood my own struggle with rationalism and meaning as a symptom of a far greater cultural crisis. It was Man’s isolation in the face of an increasingly alienating world, and his commitment to Enlightenment rationality as the only means of explaining that world, that created the problems of modernity. Those were the things I had hated in myself, and I saw them starkly illustrated in the modern world.

Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism terrified me not for its historical lessons, but because there but for the grace of God went I. She describes the “uprootedness and superfluousness” that followed ”the break-down of political institutions and social traditions,” and subsequent creation of pseudo-rationalist ideologies to provide some measure of meaning. Totalitarianism “teach[es] and glorif[ies] the logical reasoning of loneliness where man knows that he will be utterly lost if ever he lets go of the first premise from which the whole process is being started.” If a man is drowning in his own nihilism, he’ll cling to some – any – ideology as though his life depends on it. (His ego does.) Wherever it takes him, he won’t dare to let go: to reject the conclusion would be to reject the idea that brought him to it, and that would leave him floating in the abyss again.

I had been drowning. In my longing for certainty, I might have latched on to some murderous ideology. It was only by luck, or by that awful daring of a moment’s surrender, that I’d sacrificed the logical consistency of ideology for compassion. I wanted everyone to have that: I wanted human connection to be easier, closer, more meaningful, so that rationalism wouldn’t seem such an appealing option in the future. I wanted to encourage compassion and community, though I didn’t know how.

The Day The World Blew Up

Culture11.com is a fabulous site. Check it out.

And this review of The Day The Earth Stood Still remake is scathing. And quite rightly, because the idea that Klaatu would unleash Gort is absurd. The whole point as to give warning, not to actually exterminate humans because they are "hurting" the earth.

I mean seriously, all humans must die because we're bad for the earth? We live on earth. We evolved on earth. We are as much a part of the earth as any other living creature. That we have science and technology is a good thing.

Environmentalist movies are dumb.

Suck It Greenwich

I grew up in a town that in the late 70s/early 80s was mentioned three times in the book, "The Preppy Handbook".

The town is a bedroom community of New York City called Darien, CT. All white and insular, my family was not a terrific fit (we were neither well-off nor preppy) but the schools were amazing - one of my English teachers was a former editor of Time Magazine, even if most of the people were crap.

Yet even well-heeled Darien was a little insecure regarding flashy Greenwich, CT with its Rolls-Royce dealership and celebrity inhabitants (nouveau riche!).

Well, even though I left Darien in 1985 and except for one brief period, have not lived there since, I am pleased to see that my old town is, according to this article, the second most affluent town in America.

It's pathetic I know since we have NOTHING like the wealth of those people, but I am still taking pathetic joy that Greenwich isn't on the list.

My childhood in Darien was not a happy one and I would never live there again, but how weird that I still feel slightly loyal to it.

How Boris Saved Christmas

Boris Johnson that shagdog of a British politician and current Mayor of London has saved Christmas from the PC devils infesting City Hall (and just about everywhere else).

Hopefully, American politicians will follow Boris's example - grow a spine and start fighting for Christmas here too!

Neato

This is just cool.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How About A Little Perspective EPA?

The EPA has just published a list of "Most Wanted Eco-Terrorists".

At first I thought good, they are going after the real eco-terrorists whose acts of violence have killed people.

No. They are going after polluters. Stupid EPA.

Now some of these polluters are doing terrible things and should be brought to justice, no doubt about it. Like this jerk:

Raul Chavez-Beltran, another fugitive on the list, ran an environmental cleanup company in El Paso, Texas, that is accused of transporting hazardous waste from factories along the Mexican border and improperly disposing and storing it in the U.S. In one case, he allegedly stockpiled mercury-laced soil from an environmental spill in a warehouse.
But other "most wanted eco-terrorists" are kinda lame. For example:

Also at large are the father and son team of Carlos and Allesandro Giordano, who were arrested in 2003 as the owners of Autodelta USA, a company that was illegally importing and selling Alfa Romeos that did not meet U.S. emission or safety standards. The two men are believed to be hiding out in Italy.
Yes, the high volume of non-safety standard Alfa Romeos clogging our streets is directly responsible for the (mild to nonexistant) smog over our cities.

I mean come on, a little perspective here. This excellent article by Bryan Denson of the Oregonian via Rick Ross shows what real eco-terrorists are doing.

Eco-terrorism escalated across the nation in the late 1990s. Underground saboteurs, claiming to act on behalf of the natural world, repeatedly struck such enterprises as logging, skiing, genetic research, home building and auto sales. They are suspected in 69 major attacks since January 1999, including 14 in the Pacific Northwest, The Oregonian found in an ongoing analysis of the crimes.

But serious cases of eco-terrorism took a precipitous plunge after July 16, when the Earth Liberation Front set fire to an oil company building in suburban Detroit. Since then, eco-terrorists have been tied to just six major crimes, compared to 21 during the same period last year. The last major act of eco-terrorism in the United States occurred more than two months ago, when the Earth Liberation Front set fire to a genetic research center under construction at the University of Minnesota, causing $630,000 damage.
Polluting is wrong and should be punished. But violence, and mayhem are worse.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flying Black Aces

The Tuskegee Airmen have always been honored in my family and now they will be honored with invites to the inauguration.

Good.

My grandfather was a B-17 pilot in WWII. He flew more bombing raids in Europe than the Memphis Belle.

During one raid, his plane got pretty beaten up. And by beaten up, I mean a giant hole blown out of his fuselage. A division of the Tuskegee Airmen called the Flying Black Aces saved him. They escorted his limping plane to safety over liberated France and told him it was safe to take the plane down.

My grandfather begged them to escort him to England because if he didn't make it home to base, his wife would get an MIA and he didn't want her to go through that.

So at great personal risk, the Flying Black Aces got my grandfather and his crew safely home.

For love. And out of love.

My grandfather said until the day he died that if he ever met one of those men, he would "kiss their ass in Macy's windows."

He's gone now so those fine gentlemen are safe from my grandfather's lips but I continue his pledge to honor those gentlemen by thanking every military person I meet for their service.

And thank you again gentlemen for saving my grandfather. Without you, my father, myself, and my children might never have been born.

For our country and for my family, your heroism has had lasting impact.

Be Careful Who Your Mascot Is

When charismatic mega-fauna attack.

The polar bear has become the symbol of global-warming fear-mongering.

Apparently you should be afraid. This polar bear may have eaten her young.

Why do they have to act like animals?

Tide isn't rising it is turning

Man-made global warming is finally undergoing the scientific scrutiny it deserves. I am certain we will learn shocking new information.

Like the sun warms the earth!

650 Scientists are protesting the UN's IPCC claims. Hooray!

Soon may we hit critical mass.

Pile On

Today's list of articles about Illinois' corruption.

A Day in the Life of Chicago
Psst! Wanna buy a Senate seat?
By David Freddoso

Ink by the Barrell, Graft by the Pound
A made-for-Chicago script.
By Kathleen Parker

Democratic Culture of Corruption
Illinois invades.
By Michelle Malkin

State of Shame
By SCOTT TUROW

The Chicago Way, on Tape
This wiretap was golden.

The Blagojevich Case: Why Did Fitzgerald Act Now?
A corruption investigation stopped short.
By Byron York

For what it is worth

This is an illuminating interview with President G.W. Bush.

Learning, not repeating

As with all things socialism, we can learn from other's mistakes, rather than repeat them.

For example, nationalized healthcare? Look at Great Britain, then turn away.

The same goes with this government job creation scheme a la 1933. Building infrastructure is vital, but it is a state's responsibility for the most part. Plus, who wants a construction job when all they've ever done is work in IT?

This article from the Washington Post (!) pretty much sums it up. Japan tried it in the 1990s and it failed.

Gal Down

Sorry for the lack of posts today.

My lovely in-laws are arriving in about 2 1/2 hours for a month long stay over the Christmas holidays.

Have been running around like mad, trying to be organized.

Will blog later.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cyber Shopping Is My Friend

I shop like a man. I am a purpose-driven shopper.

I decide I need something. I go out and buy it. I come home.

I don't get any enjoyment out of visiting store after store looking for the perfect shade of purple gloves.

Could. Not. Care. Less.

Which is why I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Internet shopping. Some of them are like big department stores. Some of them are department stores. But it's just me and the computer.

No whining kids. No long waits at the cashier. No heavy bags to lug about.

Sooo much easier, it is almost worth paying the shipping costs.

All that said, I will still probably do a substantial chunk of my Christmas shopping at Nordstrom Rack (the best bargains ever!) and a few random shops.

However I will recommend a couple of happy websites that have become my shopping standbys.

If you go to hasbrotoyshop.com and search for "play-a-thon" you can get 10 Hasbro toys (some dups) for $80 plus shipping. It is sorted by age category and is perfect for gifts to a wide variety of kids. You may just want to order one to have on hand for birthday gifts throughout the year.

Oh, and pearloutlet.com is my go-to place for high-value, high-impact, LOW priced pearl jewelry. Their products come in beautiful presentation boxes and with a signed by a gemologist certificate verifying replacement value.

I do love a bargain.

Finally, winecountrygiftbaskets.com has a whole section of gift baskets ranging from $20 - $200 with free shipping. And their online ordering is fantastic. You can select up to 50 different baskets going to 50 different people, order them all at once and put it on one credit card. If you live in a state that doesn't let you ship wine by mail, no problem. They have a wide variety of non-wine baskets too.

Sweet.

From My Email

Join the Fight Against Union Corruption

Dear Friends:

Every so often, Congress considers bills that are so dangerous - so much of a threat to the fabric of our democracy - that we have no choice but to stand up and fight.

Right now, we are faced with such an issue: organized labor's proposal to kill the secret ballot in Union organizing elections.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, we are prepared to spend whatever it takes to defeat this Big Labor power grab:

"...the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it will spend about $10 million in the coming months to fight legislation that would allow workers to organize without a secret ballot vote...Randel Johnson, vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits at the Chamber, said defeating the measure was the lobby group's top priority in the coming session of Congress, and he described the coming fight in Congress over the issue as a "firestorm bordering on Armageddon."

If this bill passes, it will result in push-button unionism and effectively gag employers and anti-union workers. It would also result in panels of government arbitrators creating labor contracts and work rules governing every aspect of the workplace.

We need your help - and there are several ways you can take action today:

Sign the Petition to Save the Secret Ballot.
View Our Latest Television Ad to Meet 'Bill the Union Boss.'
Vote in our Online Poll to Share Your Views on this Issue.
Our leaders in Washington need to work to fix the economy first - not pass dangerous laws that do little more than cost American jobs and lead to higher prices for American consumers.

Take action today to make sure the unions don't win this battle.

Sincerely,

Bill Miller
Senior Vice President and National Political Director

Who Cares

I have never understood why someone would care how much Oprah weighs.

Content of Character, folks. Not content of fridge (or skin color or whatever).

How do you spell Chicago?

C O R R U P T I O N

Technically, it's the Illinios Governor Rod Blagojevich who's in trouble for "allegedly" attempting to sell Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder but what is it with Chicago and Illinios that corrupt (criminal) politicians just gravitate there?

This article is stressing that there's no link to Obama but based on how well "investigative journalists" were at investigating Obama during the election, I'll probably never believe there was absolutely no connection. It was Obama's senate seat for crying out loud, he must have at least heard about Blagojevich's doings through the political grapevine there.

I think I like this line best of all, "Fitzgerald described the situation by saying: "We were in the middle of a corruption crime spree and we wanted to stop it."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Class Act

Nothing says class than groping a cardboard cutout.

So Not Leadership

Reagan fired the traffic controllers for less.

Better Not Red

As a Star Trek fan, this is Glorious. Simply Wonderful.

Disgraced Words

Oxford University Press has removed words like bishop, chapel, and monarch from its Junior Dictionary because the "publisher claims the changes have been made to reflect the fact that Britain is a modern, multicultural, multifaith society".

So how does excluding words regarding the state religion of Great Britian reflect a multicultural society?

Smells like PC BS to me.

Smoker-in-Chief

Tom Brokaw challenged Obama on his 20 years plus smoking habit in this interview here published by Reuters.

Brokaw was actually tough on Obama's smoking. Obama assured Brokaw that there would be "no smoking in the White House".

Of course, not.

I bet you a dollar however, there will be smoking on the White House grounds.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bikini Atoll

Watching Science Channel right now - program running is Radioactive Paradise.

It's about the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests and ironically, they can't find radioactivity at the test sites. Life there is flourishing and it looks real pretty.

Even the coral reefs are coming back.

Mother Nature is a pretty tough broad.

No Thank YOU

I wrote about Columbia University's eminent domain abuse here and got this response from long-suffering Mr. Sprayregen. I'm putting his comment in its own post because I think everyone should visit his website and sign his petition.

Dear Kris - thanks so much for highlighting this abuse. It can - and does - happen to anyone.

For more information, go to our website -

www.mylandismine.com

Nick Sprayregen

Reason Number 37,657,439

I have many, many, many reasons why I loath and despise Universal Healthcare aka government-run medical rationing.

This is just one of a gazillion examples of why it is so very, very bad.

In fact read Lorraine Morgan's whole story in the Daily Mail (UK).

Read it remembering that this is what socialized government-run medicine is like in a largely homogeneous industrialized country - Great Britain. Do not for a minute imagine that the US government could do it any better here in America which has a far greater spectrum of humanity and is a far larger country.

How Not To Create Jobs

From OpenMarket.org:

How Not to Create Jobs
Posted by Ryan Young

President-elect Obama has a plan to create 2.5 million jobs over the next two years.

One of his ideas is to install energy-efficient light bulbs in federal office buildings.

In other words, we’re about to find out exactly how many federal employees it takes to screw in a light bulb.

My guess: a lot.

American Ingenuity

You just got to love it. Americans imagine something and then make it happen. We turn science fiction musings into household appliances and more.

It's called ingenuity and I'm very proud of our scientists and the cutting-edge technology like this Missile Defence program that keep us ahead of the rest of the planet.

Hooray!

As Instapundit Glenn Reynold's headline his link to this article, William "Freezer Cash" Jefferson is defeated.

This is very good news indeed.

But What Chemical Pollutant?

A new report is coming out tomorrow stating that chemical pollutants are turning male fish into females.

What could this pollutant be?

If you read my husband's book, you'd know it is artificial estrogen being urinated into the water system by women taking birth control pills.

This article about the report goes to great lengths to buy that fact. You finally get to this fact 12 paragraphs down.

Female hormones – largely from the contraceptive pills which pass unaltered through sewage treatment – are partly responsible, while more than three-quarters of sewage works have been found also to be discharging demasculinising man-made chemicals. Feminising effects have now been discovered in a host of freshwater fish species as far away as Japan and Benin, in Africa, and in sea fish in the North Sea, the Mediterranean, Osaka Bay in Japan and Puget Sound on the US west coast.
Of course, telling women that when they take birth control pills, they are poisoning the world's fish and wildlife population is simple not done. The charity CHEMTrust is publishing this report and if you can't tell from the name that this charity does NOT trust chemicals, then see for yourself at their website. Just remember not to believe CHEMTrust until you've checked their research against an real scientific institute's.

The article in question jumps through many hoops to blame chemicals but I sincerely doubt the "scientific" research the soon-to-be-released report is based on will win any Nobel prizes.

Chapter Six of my husband's book covers a lot of this. Here are a few excerpts:

Laboratory experiments have shown that there are so-called "endocrine disruptors" present in 43 different foods common in the human diet, including corn, garlic, pineapple, potatoes, and wheat . Most amusingly, soy bean, that product so beloved of the vegetarian liberal environmentalist, is a particularly potent source of phytoestrogens. One study found that, even ten years ago, the US soy harvest was producing about 230 million pounds of those natural endocrine modulators annually . Given that soy flour, soy protein and soybean oil are now ubiquitous in the western diet, these hormones are being consumed in hundreds of products every day.

Given all the sources of these natural phytoestrogens, it appears that on average human beings consume just over 100 micrograms of estrogen equivalents a day from natural sources. Compare that to the amount of industrial chemical amount of 2.5 micrograms. Yet all the environmentalists' attention has been focused on that tiny number.
AND
Let's get back to our main point, the silence of environmentalists over the synthetic estrogen from contraceptive pills. How much are humans ingesting daily from those sources? Brace yourselves. The medicines used in hormone replacement therapy contribute about 3,350 micrograms per day. The birth control pill contributes about 16,675 micrograms per day. The so-called "Morning After Pill" weighs in at a whopping 333,500 micrograms per day .

These are massive amounts of fully-potent estrogen and they are passing into the environment, causing the problems in fish that we have already discussed. We've also seen how much effort the environmentalists have put into attacking the sources of the much less significant industrial estrogen mimics. Therefore, there's a problem, and it's similar to phantom problems the liberals have made a big fuss over. Put two and two together and you should get four, but math was never the liberal environmentalist's strong point.

A Rare and Decent Opinion Piece in the NYT

Wonders never cease, the New York Times has published an opinion piece that I actually agree with.

Astonishing.

UnFairness Doctrine

Better wake up and pay attention to this little bit of legislation or you'll find your access to information severely limited.

Liberals and Obama are talking about re-instating the so-called Fairness Doctrine which requires broadcasters to give equal balance to all points of view. Sounds about right until you read George Will's article in Atlanta Journal-Constitution detailing the dispicable history of this particular ideological doctrine.

When government regulation of the content of broadcasts began in 1927, the supposed justification was the scarcity of radio spectrum. In 1928 and 1929, when Republicans ran Washington, a New York station owned by the Socialist Party was warned to show “due regard” for others’ opinions, and the government blocked the Chicago Federation of Labor’s attempted purchase of a station because all stations should serve “the general public.” In 1939, when Democrats ran Washington, the government conditioned renewal of one station’s license on that station’s promise to desist from anti-FDR editorials.

In 1969, when the Supreme Court declared the fairness doctrine constitutional, it probably did not know the Kennedy administration’s use of it, as one official described it: “Our massive strategy was to use the fairness doctrine to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.” Richard Nixon emulated this practice. In 1973, Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, a liberal, said the doctrine “has no place in our First Amendment regime” because it “enables administration after administration to toy with TV or radio.”
This doctrine must not come to pass. It is a gag-order on conservative viewpoints.

Pearl Harbor Day

As this NRO post reminds me, today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

First, a thank you to all who served and are serving. Our country wouldn't be free if you were not protecting us. Or as the poet once said (I paraphrase), we sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand at the ready.

Second, the post I linked to, also reminds us that we must remember these anniversaries because to forget them is to invite another vicious attack on our homeland soil.

This is worth watching as well.