December 21, 2005

LINKS

Why Liberals Hate War (via RWN)

The Democrats can see the writing on the wall. They know that if we stick around and maintain our will there is no way we can lose this conflict. We shall prevail! And that idea is terrifying to the Democrats and the rest of the American left. Why? Because it shows that war CAN solve problems. That with our overwhelming technical skill we can invade and secure just about any other country in the world, and not only that, but we can get a democratically elected government in place within just a few years.

War never solved anything? My fat ass it didn’t. In the last four years two wars have liberated two countries, and we are in the process of getting those countries on their way to prosperity and self-sufficience. In terms of the cost of life, especially when you look at the numbers for previous wars, we have suffered quite a low number. While the death of any man or woman is tragic, they should be honored to the fullest for their sacrifice to this nation, and to the people of Iraq.

The Democrats and the left cannot have this. The US has been in the “lose” column for so long now, That’s been one of their main sources of political strength. They must prevent, at all costs, the US from getting to a point where this was can be chalked up as a win. If we get a win then we negate the rallying cry of Vietnam.

The Roots of Anti-Americanism

The Constitution of the United States of America is a greater achievement than the ancient pyramids of Egypt.

Our brilliant forefathers got it right the first time, and it was the very first time, because they were inventing the wheel. The Constitution of the United States serves as the foundation for the world's oldest democracy today. Consider that: This country that Europeans regard as so young and immature is by far the oldest and most stable democracy in the world. Consider France: it followed suit and threw away its kings shortly after we did. Then came the emperor Napoleon. France is on its fifth republic (fifth constitution) today. We got it right the first time.

Now let's put ourselves in Europeans' shoes. How do you think they're going to react? Are they going to acknowledge this brilliance that puts their own stupid and immoral feudal system to shame? I don't think so.

You've Got Male: How about a little fair play in the battle of the sexes?

The clout of female voters has been transmuted into a strangely pervasive inattention to the legitimate needs of boys and men. While there remain grating sources of unfairness to women, the community is in the process of steadily creating a new legal and educational structure that generates new gender unfairness: 90% of the victims of Ritalin and similar drugs prescribed for schoolkids are boys; but even drugged they perform less well than girls. A 2005 study at Yale found nationally that even in prekindergarten boys are nearly five times as likely to be expelled as girls.

What is going on in this country?

Of course those who can do the work should receive the rewards. However, the broader question is: Who defines the work and evaluates it? The drastic occupational and familial situation of especially minority males suggests the urgency of a hard review of this issue. Were females the victims of such apparent sex-based unfairness, the legal paper attacking the matter would cloud the air like flakes of New Hampshire snow. But since it's only males . . .

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December 19, 2005

QUICKIES

-- Here's what multiculturalism gets us: Iran saying that we need to be "more tolerant" of their view that the Holocaust didn't happen. Give me a freaking break. It's not possible to be more tolerant of blatant falsehoods. But that's what our trend towards "accepting all views" has gotten us.

-- I enjoy thinking about generational differences. The other day I was flipping through Redbook and found a shockingly graphic article about how to get it on in the shower. Like detailed descriptions of who should place which body part where. Whenever I come across articles like that in regular old "mainstream" magazines, I always have the same thought: What would my grandmothers have thought if they had come across the same article back when they were my age? It brings me a good laugh to think about naughty shower articles being published in 1939.

-- (via Cold Fury) Thomas Lifson takes Howell Raines to task for saying "He [George W. Bush] adopted the full agenda of redneck America." It's amazing what Respected Journalists can get away with as long as they aim their hatred at white men.

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FOX

I think most people on the left think that we right-wingers love Fox News. Fox is always trotted out as the one example of ultra-conservative views, and several times when I have repeated something I read online, people have said, "What, did you hear that on Fox?" when they don't believe me. For the record, I know many right-wingers who don't like Fox. My husband and I enjoy watching Forbes on Fox and Cavuto on Business, but that's about it.

I personally see very little difference in the way Fox reports the news. For example, on Iraqi election day last week, the Fox reporter said, "This is the day Bush has been waiting for...", which really burned me up. Why not the day the Iraqi people have been waiting for, or the day the world has been waiting to see, or the day the American public, or anything but always placing the emphasis on Bush? Fox is just as crappy, and it drives me nuts. In fact, the day after Iraqi election day, my husband sat down and checked all websites of the major networks. MSNBC, ABC, CNN, they all had that stupid freezing rain as their top story. My husband said, "I bet Fox got it right," as he typed in the URL. Nope, they also went with freezing rain, though at least the Iraqi election was the second story; the other news sources didn't even have it on their main pages.

Therefore, I wasn't that surprised to find that Brit Hume on Fox only ranks as slightly right of center on that new media study from UCLA. Fox isn't nearly as far right as people like to pretend.

Take a few minutes to read the results of that study. They seem to have done a good job trying to filter out bias in their study. Interesting stuff.

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December 15, 2005

WHAT?

Get. The. F. Out.

This season, America celebrates a holiday whose premise is that God himself came to Earth -- and was given the death penalty. Tookie Williams died at Midnight on the Feast Day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of God and patron saint of the Americas. How fitting that the GOP and the Religious Right lobbied for the execution -- and that Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Catholic whose church opposes the death penalty, made the final decision.

Celebrity executions, from Jesus to Tookie Williams, have whatever meaning human actions give them. And the meaning of Tookie's? That the Religious Right, that bastion of politicized pseudo-religion and hypocritical power-grabbing, pronounced its own spiritual death by shouting hosannahs for his execution -- as it has done for the anonymous dead before him.

No disrespect is intended by calling the Crucifixion a "celebrity execution." Quite the contrary -- the power and meaning of the Christ story as it was taught to me is just that: that God Himself would come to Earth anonymously and died despised and forgotten by all but a few, only to be redeemed on behalf of all. His celebrity came later, as a result of His sacrifice. The significance of the death lies in its affirmation of life, in the understanding of believers that it was an act of love -- love for life and the living.

This post, found at RWN, is just jawdropping. You have to be absolutely kidding that 1) this was written, and 2) the comments section is full of people who agree. And the last line...

Another Christmas is coming to the Americas, and another American is gone. If you pray, don't pray for him: pray for us.

Must...fight...urge to start swearing uncontrollably.

Tookie Williams was a murderer. He killed four people before my husband was even freaking born, and he's been wasting air ever since. He was a gangster and a thug, and I don't care how many dadburned children's books he wrote. He shot four people that we know of and laughed about it later. He never expressed regret for what he'd done, yet somehow he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. (Maybe Arafat will show Tookie his while they're both rotting in hell together.)

I clapped the day Timothy McVeigh was executed, and I clapped again Tuesday when Tookie was finally dead. Tookie may have "died despised and forgotten by all but a few", but he most certainly will not be redeemed, and should never be compared to Jesus.

The more I try to grok, the more I feel disgusted at mankind.

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GOOD LUCK, IRAQ

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December 13, 2005

PARALLEL

Tonight at the dinner table, the husband and I raced to finish each other's sentences as we both realized we'd read the same article and come to the same conclusion. The results of this ABC poll in Iraq are interesting all around, but the most striking thing was how they parallel the American experience. 70% of Iraqis say their own life is going well, but only 44% say that their country is doing well. That sounds almost exactly like something I heard Rush Limbaugh say on the radio a few weeks ago. He said he gets callers who, well, I'll let him say it in his own words:

"[Jack] Welch told Fox News Channel that President Bush has much to be proud of with regard to the economy, but he has to get out there and sell himself - and his accomplishments - to the American people to let them know about it. 'President Bush put a tax bill through that supported capital formation and risk taking,' Welch said. 'We’ve created 2 million jobs a year after the 9/11 attacks. That’s a remarkable accomplishment. Bush has to get out there and talk about it.' Despite the recent natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the U.S. economy continues to grow, and the stock market seems to weather every storm.'" In fact, last week the stock market was -- well, not at a record high but, I mean, it was at ten seven, the Dow Jones industrial average at 10,700 something. "Welch certainly noticed" all this. "Most business people have noticed. Investors noticed. But, according to the recent polls – which show the president’s approval rating at its lowest level of his presidency – the majority of Americans have not been persuaded of the 'good news economy.'" Now, you know why this is. This is very simple. This is one of the most remarkable phenomena that I recall experiencing as host of this wildly successful program and it is this: We could be in the middle of an economic boom; I get phone calls from people, "Yeah, I'm doing okay, Rush. I am just doing fabulous. But I'm worried about my neighbors."

"Why are you worried about your neighbors? Is the Meals on Wheels showing up at their house every day? What are you worried about?"

"Well, I just see the news on TV and the economy's not doing all that well. People are this and that. I'm just worried about my neighbor."

"Well, do you know that they're doing badly or are you just worried about them?"

"No, I'm doing okay," and then there's some guilt associated with it. So most people's perception of their own economic circumstances are fine but all this negative news makes them think everybody else out there is, you know, eating dirt. They refuse to feel good about it because they think they're going to feel guilty.

I believe the same sort of phenomenon is happening in Iraq, that individual Iraqis feel they are doing well, but they keep hearing about bombs and insurgency, so they think the country is not doing well. I know it's not a perfect comparison, the US economy and the situation in Iraq, but my husband and I couldn't help but notice the parallel.

Anyway, the whole ABC poll is worth a read.

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December 12, 2005

PROPAGANDA

Does it get any better than Varifrank? I submit that it does not.

[The Western mainstream media] compares our actions at abu-ghirab with the saddam regime, as if being held in a compromising position by the ugliest woman from West Kentucky was anything like being killed, butchered and buried with a 1000 people from your hometown.

There's more, much more, on the virtues of propaganda.

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December 11, 2005

WHO ASKED FOR YOUR TWO CENTS?

There's just something that irked me about this paragraph in this totally finger-pointing article Lieberman's pro-war views concern Dems. I absolutely hate when "journalists" throw stuff like this in (italics mine):

Lieberman, who seems to relish his role as a maverick, is veering far from the Democratic script. His vocal support for the war, a stark and frequent reminder of the deep divisions among Democrats on how to end the war, makes him something of a marked man.

As if Lieberman is purposely trying to tick off Democrats. Ever consider that maybe he really does disagree with his party? Ever consider that he's standing up for what he believes in? Nope, he's just relishing the beat of a different drum. That's not reporting, that's editorializing. I hate the media.

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December 10, 2005

MOST PERFECT GIFT

The mystery knitting project is complete. Two years ago I made a wonderful DNA scarf for a friend of mine who got her degree in genetics. I was struggling to come up with an idea of a baby gift to make for her first child, born the day after Thanksgiving. I followed a link on Lola's blog to the most fitting gift I could ever imagine. Mine didn't turn out quite as nice as Kimberly Chapman's (I think my gauge was a little off), but I still think my friend's new daughter will like it. And that solves the mystery of the "black weiner-looking thing": it was the side strand of a DNA helix.

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(P.S. The DNA scarf pattern is no longer available online, so I had to link to another knitter who made the same scarf. I poked around on his blog and found a delightful article about manly knitting during WWII. The Girl, I'm thinking of making another DNA scarf for myself -- wanna join me?)

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December 08, 2005

THANKS

Thanks to JCK for pointing out that I am in the running for the worth-a-chuckle category Best of the Top 3501 - 5000 Blogs, found here. And a hearty thanks to the 50 people who have voted for me and whoever it was who nominated me in the first place. You made my day.

(P.S. I noticed the competition is ecosystem-based. Can anyone explain to me how to merge my two blogs there? I have tried and tried, but I can't get tryingtogrok.com and tryingtogrok.mu.nu to be reflected as the same blog. Not that I want to move higher in the ecosystem...that would probably put me up against much stiffer competition!)

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December 07, 2005

TERRORIZE THIS

Hey, John Kerry...wanna see some of the kids my husband terrorized in Iraq?

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This kid he terrorized by building a school for him...

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This kid he terrorized by letting him wear his Wiley Xs...

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This kid he terrorized by giving him a water bottle when it was 130 degrees...

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The only thing my husband terrorized these kids with was his handwriting...

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John Kerry, you're out of your element here.

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WTF?

I don't normally show knitting works in progress, but I'll give you ten bucks if you can guess what this is going to be...

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Give up? You'll have to wait a few days to find out...

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THANKS, BETH

Reader Beth sent me two things...one outrageous -- Palestinians Unveil Monument Honoring Sheehan -- and one wonderful -- SewMuchComfort.org. The extent of my sewing is typically rank insignia, but if you're good at sewing, you might be a perfect candidate to make pajama pants that actually fit over prosthetics and splints for our recovering soldiers and marines at Walter Reed.

UPDATE:

Amritas points out that the Sheehan thing is a joke. Whew. Though nothing surprises me these days...

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December 06, 2005

MR AND MRS

When I lived in Sweden, I noticed that my friend had a bald eagle trinket on her desk. "Where did you get this?" I asked. "Maryellen gave it to me," she replied. "Ahhh," I said. "Who's that?" "Your fiance's mother!" my friend gasped.

Is it regional what we call adults when we're kids? When I was growing up, I never would've dreamed of calling adults by their first names. All my parents' friends, all the leaders of my clubs, every adult I knew was called Mr. or Mrs. In fact, I still think of most of my parents' friends as Mr. and Mrs. (Hi, Mr. Schultz!) I didn't even call my in-laws by their first names until my husband and I had been engaged for quite a while.

Tonight I started volunteering with the Girl Scouts, and I was mildly shocked that the girls call the leaders by their first names. I guess there's nothing wrong with that if it's the leaders' choice, but it struck me as a little odd, given that I can remember all my old Girl Scout leaders' names, but they all start with Mrs! I couldn't tell you those mothers' first names to save my life.

I've noticed that most people around her prefer to go by Miss + First Name, as in Miss Sarah. That's OK with me, being 28 and all, but don't any kids call adults Mr. or Mrs. these days? Or am I just a stuffy fuddy-duddy from Texas?

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December 04, 2005

CHARLIE AND ELWAY

Remember those puppies who were born about two months ago? Well, Charlie got to meet little Elway this weekend. We managed to take a funny series of photos called Charlie Bullies the Newborn:

Scene 1: After several minutes of being oblivious, Charlie notices Elway has his bone

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Scene 2: Charlie comes to see what he can do about it

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Scene 3: Despite Elway's best efforts, Charlie gently pulls the bone away

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Scene 4: Elway stands by dejectedly as Charlie reclaims his bone

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Scene 5: Charlie is a victorious jerk

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Despite the fact that Elway holds his own with my friend's 120 lb. dog, he was a bit timid around Charlie. We're hoping that they might do better together in a few more weeks, but from the look of things they may turn out to be friends after all...

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WEEKEND LINKS

Holocaust victims to be reburied at Stuttgart ceremony

The bodies of Holocaust victims unearthed in September at Stuttgart Army Airfield will be reburied there on Dec. 15, a local Jewish leader said.

A Moral War

We took no oil — the price in fact skyrocketed after we invaded Iraq. We did not do Israel’s bidding; in fact, it left Gaza after we went into Iraq and elections followed on the West Bank. We did not want perpetual hegemony — in fact, we got out of Saudi Arabia, used the minimum amount of troops possible, and will leave Iraq anytime its consensual government so decrees. And we did not expropriate Arab resources, but, in fact, poured billions of dollars into Iraq to jumpstart its new consensual government in the greatest foreign aid infusion of the age.

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December 02, 2005

HMM

Interesting article on the minimum wage: Dead-end jobs
The comments section at RWN is hosting some good fights about the article.

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LEAVE HER ALONE ALREADY

I didn't see this particular reporter badger Laura Bush, but I did see some other reporter (don't remember her name or which network) annoy Mrs. Bush in front of the White House Christmas tree. I must say that Mrs. Bush is the height of class. This reporter asked her if President Bush is feeling nervous this Christmas because of Rove and Libby; Mrs. Bush deflected all of her family's complaints, saying that any Christmas is hard when we're at war and when loved ones are far. She refused to let the reporter bug her about politics and kept returning to praise of our troops and their families. I thought it was touching, but maybe Jessica Yellin took it as an invitation to talk Iraq and try to make Mrs. Bush look heartless. What a low blow.

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TATTOOS

I've never been a tattoo person because I have a hard time imagining that I would want something on my body for forever. When my college friend interviewed the local tattoo parlor owner for a paper she wrote, the #1 tattoo for 1996 was the Tasmanian Devil. Do you know any grandpas who would want that on their biceps? I remember vividly the man who came to do maintenance on my grandma's apartment: he had a naked lady tattooed on his forearm. I'm sure that sounded like a great idea when he was 18, but not so much when he was 60.

Still, I gained a better appreciation of permanence after I read the book 7 Tattoos. And I did get tickled knowing that the Fellowship of the Ring all got the same elvish tattoo. I suppose if a tattoo means something or represents an event, it's better than the Tasmanian Devil. But I will say that the most touching tattoo story I've heard comes from Iraq.

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December 01, 2005

LINKS

Hey The Girl -- when are they gonna lower our gas prices like they did in the Pacific? We're still at $2.78, and the national average is $2.15? Yuck.

SheepDog asks where our Thomas Paines are. I agree with him that MilBlogs are handling that task quite nicely, but I'd also like to give props to Bill Whittle. His book, Silent America, is a rally cry for our time.

Tanker sent me a link: The Iraq story: how troops see it

And our friend Tim sent me words from Joe Lieberman, a sane man in a sea of crazies. Hard to believe he ran with Al Gore...

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