November 16, 2005

JONESING

I'm starting to feel the itch.

When I lived in France for a year, I would dream about it. I'd wake up salivating and immediately wish I were asleep again. When my friend moved home a few weeks before I did, she mailed me photos of it just to taunt me. And since our local franchise closed this summer, the desire has only grown stronger. It's only a matter of time before I'm dreaming of it again.

Hello, my name is Sarah. (Hi, Sarah.) It's been 139 days since my last Taco Bell...

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November 15, 2005

TODAY'S LINKS

Some good posts on RWN:
The Bush Counter-Offensive Continues
How Many Other Mary Mapes Are Working In The Mainstream Media?

From Varifrank:
The J. Patrick Buchanan Memorial Library for Failed Prophets of Doom
(The husband remarked the other day at dinner: "What ever happened to acid rain?" Remember how that was drilled into our heads 20 years ago?)

Also, it's funny how whenever we talk about a "war for oil", someone always brings up the image of the SUV. Oil is used for other things, you know, as our commissaries are realizing. Personally, this is just fine with me; I always thought my local baggers went way overboard with the double-bagging anyway. Two boxes of cereal don't need to be double-bagged.

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November 13, 2005

13 NOV 2004

The events that happened one year ago today have changed my life. I know it sounds ridiculous and crass to say that, since it was my friend who lost her husband and not I, but I have never been the same. And though I didn't lose someone I love, I watched someone I love lose her husband, and I've watched her learning to live all over again for the past year.

I'm horrified that the reason we've become friends is because she lost her husband. I hate that this is so. I hate that I feel pressured to find more to talk about with her than just Fallujah and Cindy Sheehan. I hope we'll get there someday, because I've really grown to like her. I just hate the way we became friends.

Thursday night, Red6 came over for dinner. We had a little moment of silence remembering CSM Faulkenburg, which started a discussion of Fallujah. My husband was originally supposed to go instead of Red6. My husband had orders in hand for 24 hours, but then the Powers That Be decided two trips to Najaf was enough for one company, and they sent Red6 instead. If you've read Red6's blog, you know they made a good choice, and that's how my husband ended up on R&R instead of in Fallujah.

Our lives hang by a thread.

What my friendship with Heidi has taught me is to never take my husband for granted. We hug each other a little more often. We end our bickering a little more quickly. And we talk about death a lot more frequently. We've learned to dismiss any and all "hardships" that come our way, because it could always be a lot worse. I've learned to cherish life, more than I ever did before. I hate that it took a good man's death to teach me such a lesson, but I'm grateful for the lesson nonetheless.

I tell everyone over and over again how humbled I am to be Heidi's friend. She was the first person I thought of when I woke up today, and I can't even begin to tell her how sorry I am.

She has worried about how history will regard her husband's sacrifice: will it have been worth his life? I think history will show that her husband gave his life to preserve freedom and that it was indeed worth it. And I hope for the same future that Bill Whittle does:

Despite all the switches in the rail yard, there is a flow and a direction to history that cannot and will not be denied.

It is the slow, uneven, grasping climb toward freedom. There are markers on Little Round Top, on the beaches at Normandy, and in the sands of Nasiriyah that show us where men have fought and laid down their lives, and willingly left their wives without husbands and their children without fathers, all for this idea. It is an idea bigger than they are, bigger than self-centered movie stars, bigger than cynical and bitter journalists, bigger than Presidents and Dictators, bigger, in fact, than all human failure and miscalculation.

It is the idea that people – all people – deserve to live their lives in freedom. Free from fear. Free from want. Free from despair and hatred.

My country has, again, taken up that banner, and the behavior of our young men and women under unimaginable stress and provocation has filled me with fierce and unremitting pride. We fight, nearly alone, alongside old and true friends, British and Australian, themselves decent and honorable people, long champions of freedom who have their own Waterloos and Gallipolis and cemeteries marked with fields of red poppies, rolls of sacrifice and honor that should fill all American hearts with pride. For friends like this are worth having, and I will always prefer the company of one or two solid, dependable friends over legions of fashionable and trendy and unreliable ones.

And someday, centuries from now, in the world we all hope for but which only a few will fight for, all of this death and destruction will be gone. All that will be left will be small markers in green fields that were once deserts, places where Iraqi families may walk someday with the same taken-for-granted sense of happiness and security I had in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

And perhaps they will read the strange-sounding names, and try to imagine a time when it was all in doubt.

Heidi can hold her head high, knowing that someday Iraqi children will read this name and be grateful. I am grateful already.

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November 11, 2005

THE VETERANS IN MY FAMILY

This post is a tribute to the veterans in my family. I'm proud that I've got four generations of heroes here.

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my great-great uncle on my paternal grandfather's side, in the Army in WWI

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my great-great uncle on my paternal grandmother's side, in the Army in WWI

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my paternal grandfather, in the Army Air Corps in WWII

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my great uncle, my grandfather's brother, also in the Army Air Corps in WWII

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my father's brother, in the Air Force

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another of my father's brothers, in the Army

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my father-in-law, in the Army

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my husband's brother, in 1ID during OIF II

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and the husband, in 1ID during OIF II

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THANK YOU

Two years ago, I thanked veterans I did not know. Last year everyone I knew became a veteran. This year it just seems a little hollow for me to keep repeating how proud I am of all of the brave men and women who do the fighting for me.

So this year I'll let the Kurds thank you for me. Their words carry much more weight than mine do.

(Thanks for the video link go to Tim, one half of a pair of great veterans.)

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November 10, 2005

LINKS

Podhoretz's Who Is Lying About Iraq? is the last nail in the coffin: Bush did not lie.
Tim sent me a reminder of French lectures to the US.
And Lara sent me a hilarious parody: President is sending Marines to France.

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JOURNALISTS

The article about Mary Mapes' new book was almost a waste of time. I followed the Rathergate hullabaloo closely last year: those documents are ridiculous fakes and Rather & Mapes were reckless in rushing them to press. The article was all about poor little Mary and how unfairly she was treated. And as the violins began to fade, the last line in the article made me sneer.

Despite her career implosion, Mapes hopes to stay in journalism. "It's what I'm good at," she said. "I like making a difference."

Newsflash: Journalists aren't supposed to make a difference. They're supposed to report the freaking news, just the way it is. They're supposed to find facts and report the Five W's and that's it: give us the facts and let us make the inferences. They don't make a difference, they don't speak truth to power, and they don't create the news.

Or at least they're not supposed to.

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OOPS

The worst part about a promotion is forgetting the little things. This morning my husband woke me up at 0530: "Can you please sew rank on my kevlar cover?"

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November 09, 2005

PUPDATE

Things Charlie has eaten recently:
a #2 pencil
a Simpsons calendar
another knitting needle, this one wooden
the cover letter to my life insurance policy (whew, only the first page)
the handle of his hairbrush
the handle of his rubbermaid toy box
a chapstick
four coasters
the cordless telephone

And as I was typing this, I realized he was eating a linguistics book.

If you look at a Tibetan terrier from the profile, you can clearly see that his back legs are much longer than his front; Charlie is built like a dune buggy. That gives them great jumping abilities, since their legs are like a kangaroo or a rabbit. I began to get nervous about Charlie's jumping when I first saw him jump from a standstill onto our bed (3 ft). Two weekends ago I was downstairs mopping and the husband was watching Charlie upstairs; he jumped over the baby gate at the top of the stairs to get to me. But last week he wowed us all when a 25 lb dog jumped onto our dining room table to get to Red 6's fries.

This dog will be the death of me.

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DANG

OK, if this man can lose 230 lbs. to join the Army, then I have no excuse for not losing the ten pounds I want to lose. (Thanks, Hook.)

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November 08, 2005

NUGENT

My friend Erin was outraged when she saw the way Ted Nugent was treated on the Donny Deutsch show. (She's at that point in blogging when the media is really ticking her off.) She told me all about it, so when I clicked over to the rerun of the episode last night, I was intrigued.

I ended up so impressed with the way Nugent defended his positions, and so perturbed at the way Deutsch twisted his words around. As one blogger summarized the show:

Donny Deutsch' interview yesterday with "conservative-libertarian" rockstar Ted Nugent and wife was absolutely priceless. There's no transcript of it online but if I find it I will link it. The bottom line: the Nugents enjoyed being thrown the kind of questions one can expect from a mainstream Manhattan media star who doesn't like gun ownership and "supports the war effor in Iraq, but ...". The Nugents, with a smile on their face, cruised comfortably through the interview while Deutsch was getting visibly irritated as he lost ground as the chat went on.

What absolutely killed me about the interview was Deutsch's condescending smirk the whole time. After every commercial break, he re-introduced the segment as an interview with "ultra-conservative" Ted Nugent. (As if he'd ever introduce someone like Ted Kennedy as ultra-liberal.) And since I agreed with nearly every thing that Ted Nugent said, I found myself wondering if I too am an ultra-conservative. Of course, Donny Deutsch thinks he's completely moderate and middle-of-the-road, even though he was droning on and on about animal rights, gun control, and evil Fox news, the Rocky Marciano for every bias-blind liberal. You could just hear Deutsch's voice dripping with sarcasm, since he obviously thought that the Nugents live in a Fantasy World of human-centric personal responsibility. He snidely asked Mrs. Nugent if "the family who stays on the Right stays together?", to which she cheerfully and good-sportedly replied yes. He also went into a long spiel about how rockers are typically into sex, drugs, and liberal agendas and then asked Ted Nugent how he managed to end up on the "to put it nicely, far right side?" Nugent responded immediately with the most wonderful comeback: "Dicipline."

Nugent had some wonderful quotes. When Deutsch was droning about the poor baby Bambis that Nugent hunts, he asked Nugent if he thinks that animals have any rights at all. Nugent said that "rights are uniquely human", that we should treat animals humanely and with respect, but that they certainly don't have rights. When Deutsch started babbling about mink coats, Nugent laughed and said, "A leather jacket is a fur coat with a haircut."

Naturally, Donny Deutsch thinks Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time. Nugent disagreed, citing the flypaper strategy of Iraq -- which he called "baiting the monster" -- and said that the Bush administration should've better articulated this strategy for the public. Deutsch just waved him off with a hand, completely dismissing what he'd said as if he'd not even listened. No fakey-fake "hmm, interesting theory" that talk show hosts normally give, just eye rolling and sighs.

On the topic of personal responsibility, the Nugents started talking about health. The Nugents said that our country has real problems with obesity and smoking, so "how can you demand health care when you don't care for your health?" When Ted Nugent said that lifelong smokers and Krispy Kreme eaters can't just expect the American government to foot their medical bills, Donny Deutsch looked at him like he had a foot growing out of his head. On the topic of gun control, Deutsch kept twisting Nugent's words, as if Nugent wants every fender bender to end in a hail of bullets. Another blogger lays out the ridiculous statistics that Deutsch threw at Nugent, and when Nugent rejected them, Deutsch looked at him with those Fantasy Land Eyes again. When Deutsch asked if the Nugents believe guns should have trigger locks to protect children, Nugent responded by saying that he taught his son that "the trigger lock is in your spirit and mind." That's the most important thing you can teach your child about gun safety, but Deutsch just looked at the Nugents like they were the worst parents in the world.

Incidentally, when the subject of parenting did come up, and when Nugent said that the Osbornes are terrible parents and that Sharon Osborne should be "slapped silly" for the way she lets her children walk all over her, Deutsch had a field day. He started lecturing Nugent on beating women, even though he clearly was using "slapped silly" in its figurative and colloquial sense. And that's when the most important part of the segment happened, in my opinion. Donny Deutsch said something -- and I wish I had been fast enough to write it down verbatim -- about how Ted Nugent has some kooky ideas about gun control, so he wouldn't put it past him to be a wife beater too. That's the scary part. Liberal Donny Deutsch was so out of his element talking to a conservative that he didn't even know what it means to be conservative. He equates Nugent's lifestyle of hunting and self-reliance with some backwards, backwoods notions of male dominance and aggression. Conservative apparently means caveman to Deutsch. By saying that he wouldn't be surprised if Nugent walked up and slapped Sharon Osborne, he laid out a perfect example of how liberal Hollywood types really don't know anything about middle America.

I'm glad I watched the show. Ted Nugent was articulate and entertaining, and Donny Deutsch came off as a huge pansy. I know why Erin got mad at the show, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

UPDATE:

Cali, you can watch it here, though the buffering is acting funny for me.

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PARIS LINKS

Two more links about Paris:
Rioters say "each night we make this place Baghdad"
The Association of Muslim Journalists calls for a probe into the "violation of Muslims’ civil rights in France", if you can believe that irony.

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STUPID DREAM

Andy Schliepsiek was in my dream last night. I was in a church and he was at the other end of the pew. We didn't speak, but he looked worried and sad. If he had looked happy or content, this might've been a good dream, but I can't shake the awful feeling I have about the look on his face.

I know I must've dreamed about him because my mom and I were just talking about the trial. Sentencing just came down: the airman who brutally stabbed to death a couple from my high school just got the death penalty.

Maybe Andy was sad in my mind because I can't shake the horror of what happened to him. They were nice to a guy who didn't have many friends, and he came into their home and killed them. The account of their death reads like a horror movie, only it's a sick scenario that could happen to anyone who crosses the wrong person.

I don't like the fact that he was worried in my dream. I'm glad the killer will fry. I even mentioned to my mom that it seems kind of a small blessing that Andy didn't survive after watching some madman repeatedly stab his wife; I'm not sure I could live with that in my mind. If someone murdered my husband, I'd rather go with him. All in all, the Andy in my head shouldn't be sad. So why was he?

I hate dreams.

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November 07, 2005

I LOVE JACOBY

Raven1 found a good article: The good news from Iraq is not fit to print

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NICE

More Mark Steyn. Money quote:

French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that's less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium.

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November 06, 2005

SNIFF

Cali found a heck of an article: Restaurant is haven for wounded war vets

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FRANCE

Through Right Wing News, I found a Hugh Hewitt interview of Mark Steyn on the riots in France. A few lines really brought back memories:

I went to one of these suburbs that's currently ablaze three years ago. And what was interesting to me is I had to bribe a taxi driver a considerable amount of money just to take me out there. They're miserable places. But what was interesting to me is that after that, I then flew on to the Middle East, and I was in Yemen, and a couple of other places. And what was interesting to me was that I found more menace in the suburbs of Paris than I did in some pretty scary places in the Middle East.
...
They're places where people who are not Muslim feel very ill at ease. They're places where the writ of the French state does not run. The police don't police there. They basically figure if you go there, you're on your own. You're taking your own chances there. I mean, I don't think Americans understand quite the degree of alienation of some of these groups. You know, there's a French cabinet minister whose title is the minister for social cohesion.

I lived in Angers, France, from 1998-1999. Angers has a population of about 150,000, and I lived right on the edge between the city of Angers and one of these Muslim suburbs. And what I experienced as much as French culture was French-Arab culture.

When I went to get my student train discount, the woman at the counter asked me where I lived. The horrified look on her face should've been my first warning, but it wasn't. The real warning came three weeks into my stay as I was walking home alone in the rain at night. A man on a motorbike drove up on the sidewalk and trapped me between a van and the wall. He started speaking too quietly, and as I strained to hear what he was saying, he grabbed my breasts. I twisted his arm around and took off running. Luckily, I ran into the middle of the street in front of an oncoming car, and the man in the car yelled at the motorbike guy while I escaped. Thus began a year of avoiding the people in my neighborhood.

When we rode the bus, people threw trash at us. We witnessed fights when Arab teens tried to pick up girls. One Brit I knew had a knife put to his throat on a bus. The bus drivers let the Arabs smoke on the bus because if they gave them some concessions, they might be spared real trouble.

When we went to the neighborhood grocery store, young boys (around 12 yrs old) threatened to kill us. One evening while I was on the pay phone, some teens knocked on the glass and said, "Tell your boyfriend that when you get off the phone, we're gonna rape you."

I know that a lot of my problems with France were actually problems with French Arabs. But I lived about half a mile from a police station, and not once did I see a police car check out the area. A man tried to grab me on the street a stone's throw from a police station, which says something about how scared these punks are of the authorities.

France has major problems that have been festering for years. As I watched the footage of these Arabs throwing stones at the public bus, I was not surprised. I'm just surpised it didn't happen sooner.

You know, we kept hearing all this stuff ever since September 11th, you know, the Muslim street is going to explode in anger. Well, it finally did, and it was in Paris, not in the Middle East.

Read all of Steyn's interview, and be very afraid for France.

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November 04, 2005

LEARNING

OK, I think I'm finally starting to get a handle on the "Condi isn't black enough" idea. If a black person is a Democrat and you talk bad about him, you're a racist. If a black person is a Republican and you talk bad about him, well, I guess you're keepin' it real or something. And the n-word is racist, but "Uncle Tom" is OK. And it's OK to throw oreos at a black Republican.

Huh?

Delegate Salima Siler Marriott, a black Baltimore Democrat, said [Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele] invites comparisons to a slave who loves his cruel master or a cookie that is black on the outside and white inside because his conservative political philosophy is, in her view, anti-black.

"Because he is a conservative, he is different than most public blacks, and he is different than most people in our community," she said. "His politics are not in the best interest of the masses of black people."

During the 2002 campaign, Democratic supporters pelted Mr. Steele with Oreo cookies during a gubernatorial debate at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

In 2001, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. called Mr. Steele an "Uncle Tom," when Mr. Steele headed the state Republican Party. Mr. Miller, Prince George's County Democrat, later apologized for the remark.

"That's not racial. If they call him the "N' word, that's racial," Mrs. Marriott said. "Just because he's black, everything bad you say about him isn't racial."

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SLEEPY

I swear, if I have another night of insomnia, I'm starting a fight club...

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November 03, 2005

CALLING ALL MOMS

Well, I wrote a letter to SGT Eddie Ryan. But I'm the only person I know who doesn't have any kids who can draw a picture for him. Maybe your kids wouldn't mind putting something in the mail for this brave marine? (Or maybe Angie could get Fred to do one of his famous fridge drawings...heh.)

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